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China Fights Back 




FKSHTt BACK 

AN AMERICAN WOMAN WITH THE 
EIGHTH ROUTE ARMY 

BY AGNES SMEDLEY 

AUTHOR OF "CHINESE DESTINIES," ETC. 



THE VAH6UARD PRESS 
HEW YORK 



VANGUARD PRESS, INC. 

No part of thh'bo^may be reproduced in any form without permission in 
writing from th& publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief 
passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine or 

newspaper. 



MANUFACTURED IN THE U. S. A. BY H- WOLFF, NEW YORK 



To 

My beloved brothers and comrades, 

the heroic dead and the unconquerable living 

of the Eighth Route Army of China 

(the Chinese Red Army) 



Introduction 
by Anna Louise Strong 



THE war of the Chinese people against the Japanese in- 
vaders is the fight o one-fifth of the human race for national 
independence for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- 
It is also a war in which hungry, half-armed Chinese farmers 
hold the front lines of mankind's forward progress, for you 
and for me, against an imperialism which threatens Asia, 
America, the peace of the world. 

The Chinese Eighth Route Army., with which Agnes Smed- 
ley traveled, is important in this war not alone because it is 
the reorganized Red Army led by Communists, though that 
fact shows the new unity of China, bringing under one ban- 
ner armies that have fought each other for the past ten years. 
It is important because it brings to China's war of resistance 
certain methods which are being increasingly adopted by the 
rest of the Chinese armies and the Chinese Government 
in order to win success. Close cooperation with the Chinese 
rural population, quick response to their needs and an effective 
technique for arousing and organizing them against the in- 
vader are the chief guarantee of China's ultimate victory 
against the superior armaments of Japan. More than that, they 

Fviil 



INTRODUCTION 

.are the guarantee that after the long war is over, the Chinese 
people will have won not only independence from foreign in- 
vaders but also internal democracy the right of the people 
to rule in their own land. 

It is an unbelievably complex struggle. Here is a vast peas- 
ant people, the most populous, industrious and patiently en- 
during of all the peoples of the earth. For generations it has 
fought with nature at the very frontiers of existence. Creep- 
ing deserts of Asia, ravaging floods of gigantic rivers, doomed 
year by year millions to death by famine, a doom inescapable 
as long as the primitive tools and the ancient social system 
survive. Ignorance, superstition and the vastness of a roadless 
land enslaved them. Landlords, tax-grafters and a host o 
corrupt bureaucrats and aloof intellectuals ground the toiling 
folk further into the dust. 

The impact of the industrial West broke for a century on 
this ancient people, bringing new problems, new forms of 
exploitation, new desires. Foreign imperialisms corrupted na- 
tive officialdom still further with bribes and armed pressures. 
Against them successive waves for national independence and 
internal social change swept the country, penetrating ever 
deeper into the consciousness of the people, from the Taiping 
rebellion down to the present day. The Empire fell in 1911, 
releasing the aspirations of millions of patriotic intellectuals, 
but adding banditry and civil strife to the people's burdens. 
The patriotic movement of all classes under the joint leader- 
ship of the Kuomintang and the Communist parties swept 
rapidly across China in 1927, creating new hopes and a new 
government, but these hopes were betrayed during ten years 
of dissension and civil wars, in which the Chinese bourgeoisie, 
led by Shanghai bankers, sought to dominate the country, 
[viii] 



INTRODUCTION 

while organizations of workers and farmers wefe suppressed. 

Taking advantage of the internal strife of China, Japanese 
imperialism attacked the country, seizing Manchuria in 1931, 
penetrating Jehol and Chahar in the years that followed, hold- 
ing the Chinese Government in Nanking passive by a com- 
bination of bribes and threats. Then Japan entered China 
proper, seizing Peiping, its ancient capital, striking next at 
Shanghai, the great port of Central China, advancing inland 
to take the government city of Nanking. Millions of people 
fled before their burning, raping, looting homeless into the 
interior of China. 

It is the greatest catastrophe of human history, unexampled 
in the destitution of millions. But under the pressure of this 
invasion the Chinese people began to awake, to unite, to be- 
come a nation. Chiang Kai-shek had already to some extent 
strengthened the country with roads and railroads; these be- 
gan even more rapidly to increase. One of the greatest prob- 
lems was the horde of badly disciplined and even corrupt pro- 
vincial armies, only one step removed from the bandit gangs 
which lived by loot. The Central Government had created 
some twenty-five divisions of relatively effective national 
troops, but even these were pitifully equipped in comparison 
with the modern armament of the Japanese. Some of the pro- 
vincial leaders also had excellent armies most famous of these 
being the troops of the Kwangsi generals, responsible for the 
spectacular victories in Shantung in April 1938. The Chinese 
common soldiers were heroic in hand-to-hand combat; whole 
battalions of them died in Shanghai without quitting their 
posts. But more than the dying of heroes was needed; for a 
soldier's job is not to die but to win. 

A chief factor in promoting the unity of China in this crisis 



INTRODUCTION 

was the attitude of the Communist Party and its Red Army 
against whom the Nanking Government had carried on civil 
war for ten years. In 1931 when the Japanese invaded Man- 
churia, they were the first to call for the cessation of civil strife. 
Regarding the Japanese invader as the chief enemy of all fu- 
ture progress of the Chinese common people, and the chief 
threat to their cause on both a national and world-wide scale, 
they finally agreed, in the interests of anti-Japanese unity, to 
sacrifice certain policies in the districts they controlled. They 
also placed their Red Army at the government's disposal; it 
was reorganized as the Eighth Route Army and sent into 
Northern Shansi for mobile warfare on the flank and in the 
rear of the enemy lines. 

The Eighth Route Army brings to the battles of China a 
technique learned at heavy cost through ten years of civil war. 
They are the world's most experienced guerrilla fighters; they 
have learned how to offset superior armaments by surprise 
attacks based on close cooperation with the surrounding rural 
population. Because they themselves were close to the needs 
of the common people, they were able to arouse and organize 
those people, giving them hope, desire to resist and a tech- 
nique in fighting for their homes. This was the chief thing 
needed by China to win the war. 

Agnes Smedley's book is important because it shows the 
Eighth Route Army in the detailed problems of its first com- 
bats in North Shansi, combats which led to new hope in China 
and to new tactics on all the Chinese fronts. We see the unbe- 
lievable poverty and ignorance of the Chinese peasants, and 
their fear of the warlord armies they have always known. We 
see the badly organized provincial troops retreating; even this 
is an advance over the past of China, for they no longer join 

w 



INTRODUCTION 

the victor as they did in civil wars. We see the men. of the 
Eighth Route Army, daring, determined, yet in many ways 
naive and ignorant like the peasants from whom they sprang. 
They are overwhelmed by the first sight of a locomotive, they 
are shocked by their first American movies, and they burn tens 
of thousands of Japanese yen, not understanding that it might 
be money. But they know one thing: how to unite the people 
against the Japanese invader. We see them organize; and their 
organization is hindered by peasant fears, by jealousies of 
provincial bureaucrats, by confused allies who use their name 
while disarming other government armies. We see, in short, 
all the chaos that was rural China; yet out of it all, success 
arises through the Eighth Route Army's infinite patience with 
the common people, loyal devotion to their interests, and ulti- 
mate reliance on the honesty of great masses of common folk 
defending their own homes. 

It is a great story. Agnes Smedley brings to its telling a de- 
votion to the common people of China which has continued 
for many years. An American writer who all her life has given 
unstinted energy to championing the rights of oppressed races, 
she labored many years for the cause of Hindu Nationalists, 
and then in 1929 went to China as correspondent for the Fran\- 
furter Zeitung, in the pre-Hitler days when this was one of the 
famous liberal papers of Europe. From the beginning, how- 
ever, she gave more time to unpaid work for the oppressed 
classes of China than she gave to her paid job. 

Working with Madame Sun Yat-sen for civil liberties in 
China, for the rights of workers, of farmers, of Communists, 
she became for many years almost the one foreigner in Shang- 
hai to whose doors came the inside tales of the Chinese Soviet 
Districts. Thus she wrote Chinese Destinies and Chinas Red 



INTRODUCTION 

Army Marches, which were translated into many foreign lan- 
guages, as almost the only foreign accounts of the Chinese 
Communists in those years. They were stories brought to her 
stealthily, often by night, by people on whose head a price was 
placed. Her own life was frequently in danger; her very close- 
ness to the Chinese Red Armies prevented her for many years 
from visiting them, since she was constandy watched. 

When at last the chance came to enter the Chinese Soviet 
Districts, she left everything behind and went, not knowing 
whether she would be able to return. The war between Japan 
and China found her there, and at heavy physical cost she de- 
cided to accompany the Red Army, reorganized as the Eighth 
Route Army, to the front. The diary and letters from which 
the present book is compiled were written hastily on marches 
at the front, enduring hunger and cold, and with an injured 
spine. Always, however, she works for the Army to the detri- 
ment of her books. When I saw her last in Hankow, in Feb- 
ruary 1938, she could not do the dozens of articles demanded 
of her, for her days and nights went to raising funds for medi- 
cal supplies and warm clothes for peasant volunteers of the 
North. 

Events in China move fast and limit all books. The acid test 
of war has been removing from the scene the old provincial 
armies of the warlord type so bitterly portrayed in this book. 
Reorganization of all the Chinese armies has been rapidly pro- 
ceeding, and the methods and technique of the Eighth Route 
Army are no longer their property alone. Organization of the 
peasants proceeds on all battlefronts, with the able assistance of 
Chou En-lai, representative of the Eighth Route Army in 
Hankow and since February assistant chief of "mass mobiliza- 
tion" for the Military Council of all China. The mobile war- 

[xii] 



INTRODUCTION 

fare, so ably developed by the Eighth Route Army, has been 
combined with excellent positional warfare, which is not sc 
completely outdated as the author implies. The joint product 
known as "elastic warfare," uses mobile attacks to demoralize 
the enemy's communications and large-scale attacks to finish 
him off. How fast this process has advanced is seen already ifl 
North China in fact, on all the Chinese battlefronts. 



[xiii] 



Foreword 

(From a letter written by Agnes Smedley) 



I'LL keep sending you my articles. But I want you, when you 
read them, to realize that I am faced with great problems in 
my writing. My back is still so badly injured that I work in 
perpetual pain. And we never remain in one place more than 
two days at a time. We are always on the march. So I am al- 
ways walking or in the saddle, and at the end of the day I must 
start work. Often I must work all night long if we remain but 
one day, or one night, in that place. I can do no polishing at 
all. I am so weary and often in such pain that I cannot retype 
and at times cannot even correct. So please correct my English 
and have my dispatches retyped. Cut out the repetitions and 
edit where necessary. Sell them wherever possible and use a 
part of the proceeds to pay for the typing. If I ever get well, 
and if we are ever long enough in one place, I can do my own 
editing. 

We are moving through a region where not even ordinary 
rough paper can be bought. There are no nails, no oil or fat, 
no salt, no fuel for fire. I shall be writing in the dead of winter 
without a blaze to warm me. And (need I tell you?) without 
sufficient food. Our food even now in the autumn is rice, or 



FOREWORD 

millet, as a base, with one vegetable. Today it was turnips, and 
yesterday it was turnips. Sometimes we have no vegetables at 
all. There are big armies here and there will be little even o 
the essentials. Sugar is simply unheard of. 

You there can never conceive of the difficulties under which 
our army and other Chinese armies operate. The Japanese 
have trucks, airplanes and other efficient means of transport. 
We have donkeys, horses, a few mules, and men. Almost all 
of our army walks. No motorized units here! 

I have one horse and one mule to carry the possessions of my 
party. Besides myself there are two newspapermen and three 
guards. We must carry many of our own things. Henceforth I 
shall carry not only my attache case and my films from my 
saddle, but I shall have my typewriter strapped to my back. If 
my horse or mule should die, I am lost. I have less than one 
hundred Chinese dollars with me, which I borrowed from a 
friend, but almost all of it I use to buy corn for my horse and 
mule each day. Twice a week my party tries to buy a chicken 
to enrich our diet. My companions have not a cent of money. I 
am the richest person in the army, with money I have bor- 
rowed. And this money I must use to feed my two precious 
animals so they can carry our baggage, typewriting paper, 
films, typewriter ribbons. I have one uniform and one winter 
coat and set of winter underwear. I have two pairs of shoes. 
The others in my party have only the shoes on their feet and 
they are wearing out. I don't know where we can get new shoes 
for them. Most of our army have no stockings at all. 

I am not complaining when I write all this. These are the 

happiest, most purposeful days of my life. I prefer one bowl 

of rice a day and this life to all that "civilization" has to offer 

me. I prefer to work and ride with an injured back that would 

[xvi] 



FOREWORD 



take six months to heal even i I should stay in bed. All this I 
prefer. I fear only that my injury will affect my work, has 
done so already. So I beg of you to help me by editing my 
manuscript yet do not make it "literary". 



[xvii] 



Contents 



Introduction vii 

Foreword xv 

1 From Yenan to Sian 3 

2 From Sian to the Front 38 

3 With the Roving Headquarters of Chu Teh 69 

4 Battles and Raids with the Forces of Lin Piao 114 

5 Traveling with the Headquarters Staff 

of the Eighth Route Army 140 

6 Sights, News, Interview and Bombardment 194 

7 A Breathing Spell and a Journey 218 

8 The New Year Begins 256 



[XK] 



Illustrations 



Agnes Smedley (in the uniform o the former Red 
Army) and her hsiao tyvey, "little devil" 42 

A wall in Yenan with posters and proclamations. Note 
the interest in the Spanish Civil War 43 

Crossing the Wei River on the way from Yenan to Sian 43 
Scene on Main Street, Sian 58 

Junks being loaded at Fenglingtohkow to cross the Yellow 
River to Tungwan 58 

Wounded soldiers in junks at Fenglingtohkow 59 

Chu Teh, commander in chief of the Eighth Route Army, 
and his wife, Kang Keh-chin. Chu Teh has just put on 
the uniform of the Central Government armies, while 
Kang Keh-chin still wears the uniform of the Red 
Army 106 

Eighth Route Army men in battle. The dead bodies, clad 
in long overcoats, are those of Japanese 106 

[XXI] 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

A line of soldiers, while on the march, passes, on the 
crest of a hill, one of the rarest sights in north Shansi, 
a tree 107 

Terraced hills of rich loess earth in northern Shansi 122 

Field kitchen, Eighth Route Army 122 

Mao Tse-tung, leader of the Chinese Communist Party 123 

Ting Ling, famous Chinese writer and leader of a "Front 
Service Group" of the Eighth Route Army 123 

Chou En-lai, representative of the Eighth Route Army 
on the Mass Mobilization Committee of the Central 
Chinese Government 202 

Lin Piao, commander of the ngth Division of the Eighth 
Route Army 202 

Eighth Route Army men crossing a stream in north 

Shansi 203 

Nurses traveling with the Eighth Route Army 203 

Peasant refugees crossing a stream 218 

Peasants carrying a wounded soldier 218 

Eighth Route Army soldier teaching new recruits to sing 219 

Men of the Enemy Works Department studying docu- 
ments and diaries taken from captured Japanese 
soldiers 219 



[xxn] 



China Fights Back 



From Yenan to Sian 



Yenan, Shensi 
August 19, 1937 

BY the time this reaches you, I will be with the Eighth Route 
Army (formerly the Chinese Red Army) which is fighting 
the Japanese invaders on the northwestern front. For months 
to come a main front of battle will be in this section, in Suiyiian 
and Chahar Provinces, for it is here that the Japanese have 
planned to drive a long wedge, a cordon sanitaire, between 
China and Soviet Russia. They have already captured most of 
Chahar Province bordering Jehol and have been driving deeper 
into Suiyiian Province. They are using their own troops, a few 
mercenary "Manchukuo" troops, but chiefly Mongol and 
Chinese bandits of the North and Northwest. 

Before this reaches you, you will know that the new and 
powerful Japanese drive along the railway running from Peip- 
ing to Kalgan and Kweihwa has met a serious setback. At 
Nankow Pass on the Great Wall the Japanese have just lost 
five thousand dead and wounded. The victory was reported at 
a great mass meeting here in Yenan. All important events are 
reported at such meetings. When Tientsin and Peiping were 
surrendered there was a big meeting to hear about these de- 
feats. There are daily "extras" in Yenan, and men from the 

[3] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

People's University here can always be seen with homemade 
maps of China, sitting together with groups of peasants, talk- 
ing, explaining. Most peasants up here did not know where 
Peiping, Tientsin or Shanghai were, or who the Japanese are. 
They are being educated since the Eighth Route Army has 
established its base in this vast area in the Northwest. 

Every night crowds of men and women jam into the radio 
station here, listening in silence to news from Nanking, Shang- 
hai and other places. There is no shouting or wild enthusiasm 
at reports of victory. Instead there is a careful, steady, ceaseless 
listening, and thorough discussion afterwards. 

When the Japanese struck at Lukouchiao, near Peiping, a 
few weeks ago, a mass meeting was held here and Mao Tse- 
tung, 1 the chief speaker, called upon everyone to prepare to go 
to the front. We prepared and waited for the order to march. 
So many wanted to go that there were many refused. Someone 
must remain in the rear, where there is also work to do. Com- 
munists and Kuomintang members, students of all kinds from 
the university, men of all beliefs and views they are going to 
the front and will be found in some department of the anti- 
Japanese Army. Here the national front is a firm reality. 

I am going with them, as a correspondent. But I will go on 
a stretcher, for my spine has been injured. Six weeks ago my 
horse fell and rolled over on me. We hope that my spine will 
heal on the way, but until it does I will report the war from my 
stretcher. Here we have no x-rays, no diathermic apparatus, to 
examine or cure such injuries. On our march we hope to find 
such a place. I cannot get well here because we do not even have 
the means of making plaster casts. So I go with the army on a 

1 General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, most widely known 
Communist in China 

[4] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

stretcher. This is a people's war of liberation and even the 
weakest can do some work, strike some blow, somewhere, some 
time. 

How will we fight in Suiyiian and Chahar? For an answer, 
consult the interview with Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the 
anti-Japanese military council here. He gave two interviews 
on this problem, one to Mr. Edgar Snow, the American news- 
paper correspondent, last year, and one to me early this year. 
The former Red Army, now united with the national armies 
as the Eighth Route Army, is trained by ten years of warfare 
in fighting tactics against a foe a hundred times its strength. 
It will never fight in positional warfare alone. It has a march- 
ing capacity of two hundred li a day about seventy miles 
and is probably the swiftest army on earth. Its men are workers 
and peasants inured to the deepest and most bitter hardships of 
life. It is also an army so thoroughly trained politically that it 
is a solid, united, disciplined block and, I believe, indestructible. 
Each man, from the actual front fighter to the hsiao \weys 
(little devils) in the rear, knows exactly what and why he 
fights. 

My hstao J(wey (he seems almost like my son) is typical. He 
is a poor Szechwan peasant about twelve years old. My two 
armed guards are Szechwan peasant men, too. Each day they 
go to political, reading and writing classes. When I first de- 
cided to go to the front with the army, I asked my two guards 
if they wanted to go. They glowed with joy. I could not see 
how my hsiao \wey. could possibly go or have anything to do 
in such conditions. He has an enlarged heart, this peasant boy 
who has always lived a bitter life, who came on the "long 
march" with the Red Army and has been through many 
bombing attacks. So I decided, sadly, to leave him here. It 

[5] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

wrenched my heart, that decision. He stood before me, straight 
and determined, pleading with level eyes to go to the front. 
His face and manner were those of a child wise far beyond 
his years. 

I held out for one full week. But he was like an injured 
animal. So I finally sent him to one of the chief leaders. He 
went like a man, pleaded his case and received permission to 
go. Now he goes with me and will share my horse until we 
capture more from the Japanese and can all ride. Since I go 
by stretcher at first, he can ride most of the time. This makes 
him tremble with excitement. He loves my beautiful pony 
captured by Ho Lung 2 in Yunnan Province in China's far 
Southwest. 

So we may be bombed together, my "son" and I, and my 
loyal guards. 

We go with a group of thirty people twenty-six men and 
four women known as the Front Service Group. Ting Ling, 
the noted woman writer, is organizer of the group. We are 
divided into several sections, the largest of which is the theat- 
rical group led by a young woman from Peiping, Wu Kwang- 
wei, a most gifted actress. She has been acting here in Yenan 
all winter and studying in the university. In the Front Service 
Group there are also a few reporters, some speakers and a short 
story writer. 

This group will be a kind of flying squadron of propagan- 
dists. It will perform whenever the army halts in the army 
camps, in villages and towns, before other Chinese armies. It 
will go far into the territory near the enemy lines to arouse the 

2 A veteran commander of the Red Army, now leading the laoth Division of 
the Eighth Route Army. 

[6] . 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

people to struggle, to give plays, to speak, collect material, make 
reports. It will march all day and work half the night I'll be 
with this group much of the time unless my back refuses to 
heal. I'll scrape the earth for news and facts. 

The theatrical section has been practicing day and night. 
They are ready to present six different plays, while Ting Ling 
and two others are writing new plays. Those ready for pro- 
duction are Lay Down Your Whip, Ftght BacT^ to Your 
Native Home, both plays about Manchuria; The Whistle in 
the forest, a play about the Manchurian Volunteers; The 
Woman Spy, the story of a woman patriot who acts as a spy 
and kills a leading traitor; The Last Smile, a pantomime with- 
out words about peasants arising against the Japanese; the 
theme of Gorki's Mother adapted to the Lukouchiao struggle 
near Peiping. 

The theatrical group is searching for new themes, original 
ideas to appeal to the people. I suggested group recitation, or 
chanting. Unfortunately, we have no examples and the only 
one I vaguely remember is Langston Hughes' Scottsboro 
Limited. But our march to the front, and the fighting, will 
give the group plenty of ideas. We will also print a little paper, 
The Front, wherever we go. 

The Eighth Route Army has political departments in each 
unit, with its own theatrical groups, speakers, and organizers. 
So ours is but one of many such small units. This army is a 
vast fighting, organizing, propagandizing, writing, speaking 
group, mobilizing the Chinese people to struggle. 

We leave tomorrow. We need surgeons, medicines, field 
hospital equipment. 



[7] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Yenan, Shensi 
September 5, 19^7 

The army has gone to the front, but I am still here in Yenan, 
lying on a mud J(ang 8 with my injured spine. I have been 
hoping to go to Sian to the hospital where I could have an x-ray 
taken and get proper treatment. But even if I could endure the 
trip, the rains would prevent my going now. 

Since June the rain has poured down, sometimes violently 
and sometimes with that slow persistent stubbornness that 
means it has no intention of ceasing for weeks. It is now harvest 
time and if the rains do not stop soon, all the crops will be 
spoiled and we shall suffer one of those ghastly famines that 
make Chinese history an intermittent record of mass death. 
All the streams in this part of the country pour into the Yellow 
River, which is rightly called "China's Sorrow." This almost 
treeless land is the rich yellow earth, or loess, which washes 
away easily with the slightest rains. The swollen rivers are 
thick and yellow and this rich soil is ceaselessly carried to the 
Yellow River and into the sea; or the river overflows and 
drowns millions of people. 

I could write a volume on this loess country! To understand 
it one must see it. It is a fine porous earth, without a stone or a 
bone or a shell in it. Scientists have various theories about it, 
but the generally accepted idea is that the soil came from Cen- 
tral Asia, from what is now the Gobi Desert. Thousands of 
years ago Central Asia and the Gobi dried up. The winds car- 
ried the dried vegetation and the soil throughout Northwest 
China. Through the ages this went on, the topsoil of Central 
Asia being deposited in this region. Now, in the same way, 

8 The sleeping place used by North China people, consisting of a raised plat- 
form along a mud wall, heated from below. 

[8] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

North China suffers from the ghastly sand storms from the 
Gobi Desert. There is no more topsoil to carry, so the winds 
carry sand. But here in the Northwest, this fine porous earth is 
many hundreds of feet deep, and often whole mountains are 
composed of it. 

Scientifically the study of loess is interesting. But during the 
rains it is not at all interesting to live in such a region. The 
rain percolates through the earth until whole mountainsides 
collapse and pour down into the valleys, over the roads and 
houses, burying everything in rivers of mud. Whole roadbeds 
slip away, whole hills fall with dull roars. I live in a cave in a 
mountain of loess and the rain seeps through and permeates 
everything. Little by little the cave falls in and I have often got 
a good mouthful of nice, rich yellow earth. Lying here now I 
listen to the ceaseless drum of the rain outside, and to the roar 
of the swollen river in the valley below. I watch the range of 
hills across the valley, beyond the river, and I see large sec- 
tions of hills break away and slide into the valley and the river, 
taking with them houses and everything in the way. The dull 
roar fills me with dread. Outside my window I have watched 
the walls surrounding our garden collapse and have watched 
the stable fall in. The walls fell and covered part of my flower 
and vegetable garden. The clouds enfold the hills and the 
mountains and even reach down and cover the floors of the 
valleys. Wisps of cloud float past my window. 

The misery and misfortune of China! Floods, famines, 
droughts, wars! Poverty indescribable, and the people always 
on the verge of starvation. Can you conceive of the disasters of 
a war when even in peace time the Chinese people live on the 
verge of starvation? The rich may not suffer so much, but 95 

[9] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

per cent of the people will suffer dreadfully and countless of 
them will die. 

Sanyuan, Shenst 
September ij, 1937 

I am on my way to Sian. Ten days ago I left Yenan in an 
attempt to get to a hospital where I could get treatment for my 
spine. I have traveled in a variety of ways by stretcher, on 
horseback, and in a few places on the backs of men. I walked 
at times, and I rode in a motor truck for a stretch of ninety li 
thirty miles. My back is worse than when I left Yenan and I 
am still far from Sian. From people passing through here to the 
North today I learn that the rivers are so swollen from the 
rams that it took them three days to come here from Sian, 
though it is normally a trip of about four hours by motor 
truck. 

I am supposed to go to Sian from here by truck, but I don't 
think I can endure a motor trip for three days, or even for one 
full day, over these terrible roads. I must remain here for a few 
days until friends in Sian secure permission from the authori- 
ties for me to enter the city. It is ridiculous but true that while 
Communist representatives sit on the General Staff in Nan- 
king, I, a non-Communist, am not even allowed to enter Cen- 
tral Government territory yet. I sit here, and I lie here, and I 
wonder if I shall have to make the long trip back to Yenan 
with no possibility of having my back treated at all. 

When I left Yenan I had high ambitions. I intended to keep 
a day-by-day diary and send it abroad that people might get a 
glimpse of this part of the country and of the conditions under 
which the Chinese people live, the conditions under which 
Chinese troops must fight the modern Japanese war machine. 
[10] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

But as the end of each day came I was so exhausted and often 
in such pain that I could not write. Neither could I rest, and 
often I could not sleep. I lay through many nights with that 
hard, white, wide-awakeness of nervous tension. I took drugs 
which I brought along, but even these would put me into an 
uneasy sleep for only two or three hours. 

The first day out of Yenan was a day I shall never forget. 
About thirty li away we learned that the road ahead of us was 
so bad that no animals could possibly pass. Men might manage 
it, but not our horses or pack mules. So our party divided, some 
twenty men going by foot to cross the road ahead. The animals, 
and I on my stretcher, turned up the mountainside to go by 
the mountain paths. We traveled along the mountainsides for 
four or five hours. I lay on the stretcher and looked at the end- 
less mountain ranges in all directions, at the occasional flames 
of leaves turning red. The mountain range over which we 
passed was covered with low bushes and small trees, with a 
profusion of every kind of flower bluebells, white daisies, all 
kinds of yellow and purple wildflowers. 

The only human habitation we passed was a mud cave in 
which two peasant men lived. They sold us a few hsiao l(wa, 
or small, sweet squash. That was all we had to eat since leaving 
Yenan. I had brought food for my guard and my hsiao tyuey. 
But our food was on a mule far ahead of us. My carriers had 
no food at all. They labored along over the mountains, and 
their heavy breathing sickened my heart. I am not accustomed 
to being carried on the shoulders of human beings. 

Once I took my eyes from the distant plateau and looked 
down the side of my stretcher. Below me yawned a vast, deep 
ravine. The sides had crumbled away. 1 turned to the other 
side, to avoid looking into this abyss, only to find that another 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

abyss yawned on that side. I was swinging in space, with what 
seemed a bottomless ravine on either side of me. Only the car- 
riers before and behind me showed that the earth was there, 
under their feet. I closed my eyes and waited. After a time I 
opened them, as we turned down a path and I was able to 
look back. 

Our party had gone between two great caverns. No earth 
remained between them except a narrow footpath about two 
feet wide. One more deluge of rain and this whole path, three 
hundred feet long, would crumble away and the two abysses 
would merge into one. 

Farther on we met our pack animals returning. They were 
cut off from the paths before them by a landslide. The men 
reconnoitered and decided to break a path down the mountain- 
side and try to reach the main road again. My men could not 
carry me down the steep decline. The animals slid down on 
their hoofs and haunches for hundreds of feet, stumbling, be- 
ing caught and held by trees and bushes. My guard and one of 
the carriers put their arms around me; I threw my arms over 
their shoulders and we followed the horses. I was half carried 
down the precipitous slope, then through a swamp with water 
almost to the hips, and finally out on the main road \frhere the 
exhausted animals and men were resting. 

It was about three o'clock in the afternoon and none of the 
men had eaten. The carriers said they were so hungry and 
weary that they could not carry me. I distributed all the food 
I had brought to all the men, and after a short rest we started 
out again. Still the men were too exhausted to carry me, so I 
tried to walk for a while and then to ride a horse. But not for 
long. 

Before us was a sight I shall never forget. The whole moun- 

[12] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

tainside had broken away and slid down through the valley in 
great landslides, taking all trees and bushes with them. This 
debris lay ten to thirty feet deep across the main road for hun- 
dreds of feet. Two mules had tried to cross some time before 
us, but had sunk in the mud up to their necks and had died 
there. 

But we had to cross. We unloaded the animals and the men 
carried the heavy burdens up and around the tops of the land- 
slides. We drove the animals through the mud over the most 
passable sections. In fear we watched them flounder up to their 
bellies. We shouted at them. We whipped them when we could 
reach them. When they lay stuck in the mud we got long poles 
and pushed them. Desperately they fought their way across. I 
watched, amazed at the wisdom of the animals. They picked 
out the safest places, chose carefully, then struggled ferociously 
through. They often sank and lay in the mud, but after a mo- 
ment of rest threw themselves into the air and fought their way 
ahead. On the other side of the terrible morass they stood heav- 
ing with exhaustion. 

f Nothing could possibly carry me across those places. So I 
'climbed up the mountainside, helped by my guard and a car- 
rier, up and around the great landslide. Then we reloaded the 
'animals and went on, only to find another landslide before us. 
Six such places we crossed in the course of only ten li. Each one 
seemed worse than the other and each time I said, "It is simply 
impossible! There is no way!" We all stood and looked at the 
sea of mud before us. Then the men spread out and recon- 
noitered again. They said, "We passed worse places than this 
on the long march. This we can also cross." 

And we crossed. Each time we feared that the animals would 
sink in the mud and die, or would break their legs. Three 

[13] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

animals did lose their shoes. And they became more and more 
exhausted. My back ached dreadfully and each time I crossed 
a slide I lay down on the stretcher and waited for the men to 
come. Then one of my carriers became suddenly ill from ex- 
haustion and hunger. He lay in the wet grass by the roadside. 
I got out my first-aid kit and gave him some aspirin to stop his 
headache temporarily. There was nothing else I could do. 

For hours we struggled over the ruined road. I thought at 
times I could endure it no longer. But we always went on. It 
was dark when we crossed the sixth landslide. A peasant there 
told us we had a good road ahead. I rode a weary horse that 
would not go unless my guard led him and another took a 
whip to force him forward. We were all cold, wet, hungry, 
weary. We passed a few mud huts of peasants, but they had 
nothing to sell us, not even hot water. The rest of our party, 
ahead of us, had bought everything. 

At one place we asked a very old peasant for hot water. He 
could not understand a word we said. Down the hillside came 
two younger men, apparendy his sons. They were short, squat 
men with long hair about their faces. They were bent double 
under great stacks of wood. From beneath their loads they 
lifted their dark faces, grinning at us. They made me think of 
all I had read and heard of the peasant serfs of the Middle Ages 
in Europe. So the European serfs must have looked. These men 
are so isolated that they speak only their own dialect. I suppose 
the number of their words does not reach a hundred. Their 
clothing is a few rags literally rags; their bed is a mud %ang; 
their food is such as animals could not live on. 

At last we reached a small village. We could buy only 
some dry bread-cakes and some watermelons. We made a 

[14] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

meal o these and went to sleep. And the next morning at five 
o'clock we were on the road again. 

In the morning I lay on the stretcher for a few hours, car- 
ried along by the men. The clouds, deep down in the valley, 
slowly rose. I looked up at the mountainsides. Each bush, each 
blade of grass, was hung with cobwebs. Some were so large 
that I could see each strand. They were wet from the heavy 
clouds that had enveloped them and stood out clear and white 
against the green background. Then the clouds lifted under 
the sun and the cobwebs began to disappear as the dew on 
them evaporated. The mountains, I saw, were covered with a 
hundred different flowers with sprays of bluebells, white 
daisies, purple and yellow flowers, and with a flower whose 
blossom was something like the wild rose of America. The 
whole landscape reminded me of the mountains of western 
America, but without America's rocky cliffs. There are only a 
few mountains here with boulders. Everything has been cov- 
ered with the fine, porous loess. 

All day we traveled through the valleys. But after the first 
few hours, the carriers were too weak to bear me any further 
and I had to ride a horse. The men cannot carry me when they 
get so little to eat, even though there are five of them taking 
turns, with occasional help from two of the majoos, the men 
who take care of the animals. 

It was at the end of this day, in a small town where we 
stopped for the night, that I began a daily task. First one of the 
carriers came to me with an injured foot, and I disinfected it 
and bound it up. He went away, and then one by one most 
of the other carriers and the mafoos came. They all had some- 
thing wrong somewhere, cut feet, bad sores one with an ulcer 

[15] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

on his leg, and one with a terrible ulcer on his stomach. I fixed 
them up as best I could and they went away. 

A party ahead of us then sent men back to be cared for, and 
two men with a party on the way to Yenan came for help. 
They had severe headaches and fevers. One man came to me 
with dysentery. Then came the local peasants. A man brought 
his baby with a head sore. One man with syphilis came. An 
Eighth Route Army man complained of head pains that came 
from a rotten tooth. 

Before the evening was finished I had treated fifteen or 
twenty people and had told half a dozen others that I could 
do nothing. I can handle ordinary first-aid cases, but of course 
I can do nothing about teeth or syphilis. I have medicine for 
dysentery and other stomach disorders. What astounded me is 
that, though there are some intellectuals in our party, not one 
of them had taken one step to get medicine for themselves from 
the Yenan hospital. 

And so from this village on, I began a daily routine of doc- 
toring our party, other parties on the road, and the local peas- 
ants. When we halted for rest for the night my work began, 
and lasted always about two hours. So I became a sort of wan- 
dering first-aid worker. At times I would lie on my bed and, 
with the help of my guard, tend the feet stuck up on the bed- 
side. But most of the time I had to get up and bend down. My 
back ached and it was difficult to continue. In one village some 
peasants came with bad attacks of worms. I had no medicine 
but later 'bought some in a larger town and sent it back to 
them. 

At another place there was a young peasant with a badly 
injured foot. Blood-poisoning had set in. I am no doctor, and 
this was terrible. I disinfected the injury and treated the foot 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

as best I could, then went on after giving the lad instructions. 
But I was worried all night and for the next few days, think- 
ing of that blood-poisoning. 

I had a discussion with my translator about this concern of 
mine, and a conflict arose. He is an intellectual, a teacher from 
Peiping. I told him that I wished I could have helped the boy 
more, that I was afraid he would die from blood-poisoning. 

My translator said, "Sympathy with the people is utterly 
useless. There are too many of them." 

"Do you mean," I asked, "that I should not help that boy 
with blood-poisoning?" 

"It is useless," he said. 

We argued violently. I said that the treatment had taken 
only five or ten minutes of my time and pointed out that we 
waste much more time than that each day on useless things. 
What sort of talk is this that I should pass by a boy suffering 
like that? We are a group of people from the Eighth Route 
Army. The strength of this army, and of the Communists who 
lead it, has never been in military force, but chiefly in its in- 
timate, organic connection with the people. They have helped 
the people in countless ways. Wherever possible, whenever 
possible, in a thousand ways, we must always help where we 
can. We need not swerve from our main purpose. All we have 
to do is give give a little of our time, a little of our thought. 

I was deeply irritated because I thought I saw in the attitude 
of this man the ancient attitude of the "intellectual aristocrats" 
of China. I realized that I can easily take up a thousand things 
and sometimes do and become buried in them to the detri- 
ment of my main purpose. But I was shocked to find such an 
attitude in this man, with our party! Yet he too has been sick 
on this trip and he did not hesitate to ask me for medicine and 

[17] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

for help. That seemed to him all right. But when I helped 
poor peasants, that was a waste of time! I challenged him again 
and again for his attitude. 

I am, and travel like, an aristocrat, in comparison with the 
simple men of the Eighth Route Army. I am given every ad- 
vantage on earth. I have a stretcher and five carriers to take 
me to Sian. I have two bodyguards and a boy to help me. I 
have an extra horse. My translator has a horse to ride. He has 
an income superior to that of the common lot. These advan- 
tages mean, to me, that my responsibility and the responsi- 
bility of my translator is a hundredfold heavier than that of 
the guards and carriers and others who walk while we ride, 
who eat simple food when we can get the best. I am tortured 
always by this inequality. I remember my own childhood and 
youth, when I was a poor servant waiting on the rich. Always, 
in my mind, I associate myself with the men walking by my 
side. What money I have I share with them. I eat the same 
food as they do and feel ashamed if I do not share mine with 
them. Does this mean that I am indulging in weak, middle- 
class sympathy? If so, so be it, and let all make the most of it. 
If helping workers and peasants is-rsaiddle class, petty bour- 
geois, then let it be that forever. To me it means merely that I 
cannot live a life apart from them. 

Sian, Shend 
September 21, 7937 

At last I have completed the first step of my journey and am 
in Sian! 

My experiences on the road have shown me the depths of 
ignorance of the common people of China. They do not know 
the most common methods of protecting themselves against 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

disease. There must be traveling dispensaries and public health 
workers. The Chinese Soviets introduced widespread public 
health campaigns in their regions and there are now many 
hospitals in the Northwest. But beyond their territory you 
seem to sink into a deep black well. For instance, at one vil- 
lage I wanted to buy some dry bread-cakes. But a swarm o 
flies were settled on the bread. The storekeeper came and 
shooed them away. I saw that flies had been caught in the 
dough and cooked with it. I explained that I did not want 
bread on which flies had settled. He laughed in hilarious amuse- 
ment at me, then turned and called a number of people from 
the back of the shop. He told them that I would not buy his 
bread because flies had been on it! They all laughed. I again felt 
that I was in the Middle Ages. I suppose this was the first time 
they had ever heard that someone did not want bread covered 
with flies. Since I am a foreigner, the incident will never mean 
anything to them or to the Chinese in general, but will be put 
down as one of the many idiosyncrasies of foreigners.' In 
Yenan, where merchants were forced to cover food with mos- 
quito nets, the Red soldiers patrolled the streets to enforce the 
public health measures. The people there have learned much, 
but not elsewhere. 

And so I went on and on, walking or riding through the 
Middle Ages. We left the valleys and came out on the high 
plateaus. They reminded me of the broad mesas of southwest- 
ern America. In all directions I could see the tops of plateaus, 
many of them corroded and all but destroyed by the rains. 
Unlike western America, however, the sides of the plateaus 
were terraced and, in many places, cultivated. But there were 
times when we traveled for a whole day and saw not one cul- 
tivated terrace. The rains had washed many of them away 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

and grass had grown over them. They had not been used for 
years. 

The country was desolate, without population. Now and 
then we came to a tiny village with a few houses and a few 
ragged peasants. I recall the terrible famine of 1928-29 that car- 
ried off nine million people in the Northwest, many of them 
from this region. But it is not this alone. This whole region has 
been the scene of Mohammedan uprisings and invasions. For 
decades, also, Chinese warlords have bled this country white, 
taking crops, animals and chickens, while officials have levied 
taxes that stripped the people of their last grains of millet. 

Soldiers have overrun the country, leaving syphilis in their 
wake, so that children cannot even be brought to life. There 
are places here in the Northwest where you can find no child 
under ten years of age. This problem is one of the most serious 
facing the new administration in the special area in the North- 
west, formerly the Soviet area and now reorganized under the 
Central Government. The hospitals are busy treating men and 
women for this old disease, and the fight to prevent any syphilis 
from spreading to the Eighth Route Army is a big one. 
No volunteer with syphilis can enter the army. Men who have 
it must be carefully treated and kept in units apart from the 
others. And the army remains clean. But since it is largely an 
army of sexual ascetics, there is little or no chance of the disease 
spreading. Any violation of women is one of the most serious 
offenses in the rules of conduct of the army and is heavily pun- 
ished. 

Still, as I go through the Northwest, even along this main 

road, I wonder why diseases are not more widespread, for even 

the Eighth Route Army men do not know what a germ is. I see 

cooks in wayside hovels wiping chopsticks with dishrags lit- 

[20] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

erally black with filth. They wipe the bowls with the same rag, 
wipe the perspiration from their faces with the same, wipe off 
the tables with the same. That one rag must be a depository for 
all the diseases of Asia. Yet our men eat with those chopsticks 
without washing them. I am constantly taking chopsticks from 
my guards and pouring boiling water over them to their 
tolerant wonder. I cannot explain what a germ is. If I tried it, 
I could not prove it anyway, and they would listen politely, but 
then among themselves think me a bit crazy. 

As I ride along on the stretcher, my mind is filled with these 
and a hundred more thoughts. I wonder, for instance, how it is 
possible to prevent this soil of the Northwest, the richest on 
earth, from being washed away and carried along the Yellow 
River to the sea; how to prevent floods. I think of vast fruit 
orchards and pine forests in the Northwest. Oh yes, I think of 
things that it will take a hundred years to achieve after feudal- 
ism gives way to democracy. About me I see the people with 
a few rags, dirty and patched beyond description, to cover them. 
Our own men live on dry bread and water with occasionally a 
few vegetables. They lie down to sleep at night with often no 
covering at all, with a piece of cotton cloth between them and 
the earth. They have absolutely nothing beyond what they carry 
on their bodies. They do not even know the feeling or meaning 
of a full stomach. The Chinese masses need everything food, 
clothing, housing, education, medical help. The country needs 
everything, too everything one can think of. 

At night, when we put up in the peasants' homes, my guards 
and my hsiao tyvey usually sleep on tables or boards by my 
side. At times there are no houses for us and we sleep in the 
little rooms connected with the stables in which we feed our 

[21] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

horses. The horses fight and the dogs bark and growl and 
the men about me snore. Often I cannot sleep. 

One night my guards and I, my carriers and the mafoos 
all lay down side by side in the entrance to a stable, I lay on my 
folding canvas bed, one of my guards on my stretcher, and on 
either side the carriers and mafoos stretched out on the bare 
earth. Once later we passed the night in the same way, but 
we had with us a company of Eighth Route soldiers and they 
too lay down and slept on the bare earth. I lay awake for 
hours from weariness and pain, my nerves taut. I took medi- 
cine that put me to sleep, but for one or two hours only. I 
then lay awake, watching the dark forms of the sleeping men 
about me. 

They lay without moving, hour upon hour. This interested 
me. I think most people toss and tumble in their sleep. I know 
that I do. I know that I am a violent sleeper just as I am a 
violent waker. But these Chinese peasants and workers lie for 
hours quiet and unmoving. I think that some of them do not 
turn over all night long. I have slept side by side with them 
many nights now, and I have not seen them move. 

I lie and watch them and think. In no other country, I be- 
lieve, could I live the life I live in China living and sleeping 
side by side with men, without one thought of doubt about my 
safety. I feel far safer than if I were in closed Western rooms. 
Some of these men have carried me on their backs over streams. 
Others have put their arms about me and carried me down 
hills. As we go along, others gather wild flowers and stick them 
in my stretcher or give them to me. They come up and tuck in 
the blankets about me. When I must ride a horse they lift me 
in and put me on the horse so that my back may not be strained. 
If they have a bit of food, they share it with me. One of my 
[22] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

carriers got a pomegranate and brought it to me. It was a 
precious gift. I knew that it cost at least ten cents and that was 
very, very much for him. I was so deeply moved that I could 
hardly speak, but could only grasp and hold the hands that 
held the pomegranate out to me. 

Side by side with these men I lie at night. And never have I 
known such impersonal love and affection as that shown me. 
I know that if I should ever speak to middle-class, conventional 
people anywhere about these experiences of mine, they would 
smirk and titter or look at me with cold, hostile eyes. To each 
other they will say, "She has been sleeping with bunches of 
coolies and mafoosl" 

Yes, I have been sleeping with coolies and mafoos, with 
Chinese workers and peasants. They have lain on all sides of 
me. And I know that they are my protection and my strength 
and that on them I can depend to the very end. 

One of my guards, the Szechwan peasant youth who was 
sick with pneumonia this past winter, does not sleep quietly as 
the others do. He is a very sensitive lad, unable to sleep well in 
disorder and noise. He tosses in his sleep when he hears a sound. 
When the horses kick and neigh or the dogs growl, my guard 
awakes, though no other person does. The others "lie like a 
stone on a man long dead." 

My guard is really not fitted to go to the front. Still, I have 
nursed him all winter long and have become very fond of him, 
just as I have of my hsiao \wey. We form a kind of trinity and 
my other guard does not really belong, for some reason or other, 
while my translator is out of it altogether. We three are some- 
thing like an elder sister and two younger brothers. So we three 
take care of each other. 

When we left Yenan, my hsiao \tvey was like a bird out of a 

fei 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

cage. He is a tough little fellow, physically, in spite of the hard 
life he has led. Months of rest and good food have given him 
back much strength and he is now in excellent condition. 
When we left Yenan he put his red sweater and his flashlight 
and leggings on my stretcher and was off and away. 

Sometimes I could see him in the distance, and it seemed 
that he would reach Sian in a few hours. Then I would lose 
sight of him, and he would turn up from the rear with a big 
handful of flowers for me. He investigated all parties of peo- 
ple marching far in front of us, and he investigated those in 
the rear. He looked over the country in general. Once when 
we came into Tungpu, a town of considerable size, I thought 
he was far behind us. Night came and I worried about him 
and kept asking if he had come. Finally he came dragging 
himself in. 

He had reached Tungpu long in advance of our party and 
had gone to the theater and enjoyed himself. Of course my 
guards scold him because he worries us, and because they think 
he does not help enough. But he is a child, and I am glad he 
can enjoy himself some of the time. I wonder what kind of 
man he will make. He loves the open road, new places. He 
has known nothing else for years. He will undoubtedly grow 
to manhood in the army and may know nothing but fighting 
all his life. So long as I remain with the army I shall try to 
keep him with me and see that he is taken care of as well as 
I can care for him. Sometimes, when I have to walk, he comes 
and takes my hand and we walk together, and my guard 
comes, links his arm in mine and half supports me. So we 
walk along together. They teach me Szechwan words quite 
different from the Chinese of the North, and we chat lightly 
or discuss questions seriously in one dialect or another. 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

On the tenth day after leaving Yenan, we reached the large 
town of Sanyiian, four hours by truck from Sian. It is garri- 
soned by General Yang Hu-ch'eng's lyth Division. We put 
up in a big clean room of our army headquarters. My guards 
and translator slept on the f^'ang and I put up niy camp bed as 
usual in a corner. Here we stayed for two nights. 

On the second day I called on the local British missionaries 
and bought some worm medicine to mail back to the peasants 
on the road. Mr. and Mrs. Bell were more than kind and I 
spent half of one day with them, having lunch there. Mr. Bell 
is very liberal-minded and very friendly to the Communists. 
He says the Eighth Route Army is the best army that has ever 
been in Shensi and that it has gained the wholehearted sup- 
port of the people. 

When I left the Bells I promised to return the next day if 
we did not leave for Sian. But in the morning we had to set 
out. 

It was September i8th, the anniversary of the Japanese in- 
vasion of Manchuria. Our truck had to wait in Sanyiian until 
thousands of troops of the I7th Division passed. They were 
marching to a mass meeting in commemoration of September 
i8th. They marched fully armed, their artillery units dragging 
field guns, their red and blue banners streaming in the sun- 
light. Later we saw mass meetings in even the smallest vil- 
lages. Peasants armed with spears stood in military formations 
with troops. 

In Sian I am living in our military headquarters. Dr. Tate 
and Miss Major of the missionary hospital have examined my 
back by x-ray and it is clear that no bones are fractured. The 
only thing is a serious sprain and bruising of the muscles and 
the breaking of the periosteum of one bone. All the British 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

doctors and nurses in the Sian hospital gathered together, 
served me tea that morning, and discussed with me the med- 
ical and public health work in Yenan and the regions o the 
North. They asked about their mission property and I told 
them that it is intact, even to the pictures on the walls. 

Japanese planes came toward Sian today and we all took 
to the cellars when the warning signal came. Then out again 
and about our business. 

I cannot get my teeth fixed here in Sian. There is a Chinese 
dentist; however, if you go to him he will put a gold crown 
on anything at a moment's notice, but he will not even clean 
or grind the decayed spot first. His specialty is putting gold 
crowns on decayed teeth and beyond that he does not go. 

I hope to leave for the front within two weeks at the most. 
The Provincial Government has given me a special visa which 
entitles me to go throughout the Northwest or to remain here 
as long as I wish. 

I think two weeks' rest here will be enough, if I follow care- 
fully the treatment given me by the hospital. In the mean- 
time I shall lie here in headquarters. It is a large place and 
each room is filled with men and women. Political prisoners 
have been released in Nanking and Soochow, and many of 
them have come here en route to the North. Some of them 
leave each day. 

I am so close to the struggle that I suppose I lose much of 
its significance. This headquarters, a clearing house for pa- 
triots and things patriotic, is one of the most dramatic places 
imaginable. Here are more than a hundred released political 
prisoners; here men and women come and go from every part 
of China; here a radio operates all the time, and outside even 
now I hear news being broadcast from Nanking, with the 

[26] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

Japanese jamming the wave-length so we can hardly dis- 
tinguish anything. When we get off the Nanking news wave- 
length we can clearly get Japanese sending news, or music 
from Peiping. Or we can get the sickening Shanghai night 
club music about a man handing a woman an orchid. An 
orchid in the midst of death and destruction in Shanghai! 
The gentleman hands her an orchid! Not a bomb, but an 
orchid! 

Stan 
October 8 f 1957 

I must tell you about some of the experiences of my guards 
and my hsiao \wey in this city. Four of these Chinese lads 
have spent much time together since we arrived, investigating 
the marvels of modern civilization as it exists in this first city 
of real size they have ever encountered. In addition to my 
little hsiao I(wey and my Szechwan guard, there was a 
Kiangsi lad of about twenty-five years, the bodyguard of a 
foreign woman friend of mine who had recently arrived in 
Sian; and there was another Szechwan youth, the guard of a 
Chinese woman of our group. These peasants had traveled 
hundreds and hundreds of miles on the long march with the 
Red Army. They could ford rivers, push around and over 
landslides, march through the swampy "Grass Lands" of 
Sikong where, it seems, no man had ever been before. These 
four veterans took for granted what was to me most unusual. 
But they were bewildered and amazed and often delighted 
as we approached Sian and met real evidences of the modern 
world. 

First came the trucks. Of course they had seen trucks come 
to Yenan, but they had never been in one. But once on our 

[27] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

long and wearisome journey from Yenan, a group of trucks 
carried our party about thirty miles. My guards took up their 
positions on one side of the machine, holding on like grim 
death. Grinning at each other and at the landscape speeding 
by at fully ten miles an hour, they got their first thrill of an 
automobile ride. When we halted at a village they all took 
turns sitting behind the wheel of the truck to see how it felt. 

Well, they quickly got used to trucks. They were later to 
stop gasping at motorcycles, or to wonder at private cars even 
when they rode in the front seat beside the driver. It was 
only when we reached Sian that they really began to be aston- 
ished at everything. This is not much of a city, and the one-, 
two- and three-story shops are filled with piles of trashy, ex- 
pensive things. A friend of mine once remarked, "J a P anese 
goods are rotten and cheap. Chinese goods are rotten and 
expensive." A city of a quarter of a million, with trashy shops, 
was to these lads, however, a great city filled with wonders. 

When we went to the local headquarters of the Eighth 
Route Army in Sian, I was so tired I went to my room at once 
and lay down. The door was at once blocked with people 
but not to look at me. They were clustered like bees around 
the electric light switch near the door. They began taking 
turns switching it on and off . Each one tried this a number of 
times, his face turned upward to watch the light bulb on the 
ceiling. His hand would be pushed aside and another would 
take his turn. 

But electric lights were not so much, either, when the boys 
got used to them. The time came when, in passing the switch, 
they would reach and turn it on and off just like that, just 
like veterans! They did not want anyone to see them at it, for 
they hate to be regarded as greenhorns. They thought Yenan 

[28] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

had made them "wise," for there they had first been treated as 
greenhorns. Until the Communists entered that town with its 
one main street bordered with one-story open shops, the whole 
town did not consist of more than a thousand people. Still, it 
was a large town for the Red Army boysso large that the 
merchants swindled them right and left. This had taught 
them something of a lesson and they approached Sian some- 
what gingerly. 

What many of their experiences in the city were I do not 
know. In the first days there, they would disappear for hours 
at a time, walking through the city from one end to the other. 
I do know that my guard came home triumphantly with a 
leather case for which he had paid twice as much as he should 
have, while the next day my hsiao fa/ey went out and bought 
the same kind of case, in a larger size, for half the price my 
guard had paid. This made my guard lose face so badly that 
they had a quarrel. He got the upper hand two days later 
when he saw a train before the "little devil" saw one. This led 
to another quarrel, and the hsiao \tuey dashed off to the rail- 
way station. But he did not know that he had to buy a plat- 
form ticket. They would not let him through the gates to see 
the train. His defeat was sad to contemplate, and it was several 
days later before he could really see a train. 

Once, as we passed through the streets together, the two 
boys halted and showed me a modern barber shop. They did 
not know that I had ever seen one before. Eighth Route Army 
barbers are men who go from unit to unit with kit in hand. 

At one time we all went to the modern hotel in Sian to 
visit my foreign woman friend. This is a fine hotel with 
polished floors, upholstered furniture in the lobby, electric 
lights, curtains, white tablecloths in the dining room and 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

goodness knows what. My friend had a room with a private 
bath. So the boys all poured into the bathroom to see the white 
tile and nickel, glass and mirrors. They turned on the hot and 
cold water, tested the wash basin, flushed the toilet repeatedly, 
and turned around and around admiringly as they looked at 
themselves in the big mirror. 

They visited the hotel to see the bathroom a number of 
times until they were veterans in that line also. But one won- 
der of wonders they could never get over the moving pic- 
tures' Coming down from Yenan, I tried to explain what a 
moving picture was. They did not know what I was talking 
about. So, on the night of our arrival, they went to the movies. 
Such was their wonder that they waited impatiently the next 
morning for the theater to open. They saw a jungle film, re- 
turned with wonder still in their eyes, and told me they had 
seen lions, tigers, elephants, and a huge hairy animal that 
looked something like a man. None of the boys had ever seen 
such animals, though they had seen old prints of tigers. In 
Szechwan and Sikong they had perhaps seen tigers or leop- 
ards. In any case, the tiger made no impression on them. 

They became movie fans. On the third day they said they 
were going to see a foreign movie and they asked me to go 
along. I went. They led me to a theater with gaudy advertis- 
ing posters outside. The film was called "Diamond Jim." 
Though my heart sank at the title, the film itself was even 
more depressing. I sat through it, but I lost "face" entirely. 
Everything in the film the boys called American. It began 
with Diamond Jim, a huge, fat fellow with a protruding 
stomach (supposedly an "American worker") taking off his 
overalls and getting into a high silk hat and cutaway. From 
that moment on, all the male characters wore this costume 

[30] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

which, as far as the boys were concerned, became the ordinary 
American dress. Diamond Jim began to wear diamond but- 
tons, pins, and rings, but the boys did not know what a dia- 
mond was. So that part passed over their heads. All the women 
in the film were dressed in elaborate, gaudy gowns and the 
boys decided that all women in America dressed like that. 
The rooms in which the film was staged were filled with 
huge chandeliers, ornate furniture and bars. The boys did not 
know what a bar was. 

They solemnly watched a "bad man" drive his horse and 
buggy through a saloon door and up to a bar. But they didn't 
know what a saloon was and they could not understand such 
conduct. There was also a scene in the Stock Exchange, with 
a ruined speculator sitting before a ticker, with tape in hand. 
This was utter Greek to the boys, as was a gaudy wedding 
scene later. 

There were four shots in the film that had some meaning 
for them. One was a horse race, which interested them. One 
was when Diamond Jim and three of his friends, back in the 
early nineties, went out riding on a bicycle built for four. 
Later, in the streets, the lads halted before a bicycle shop and 
laughed at the bicycles on sale there. They were built for one 
person only, while in America, modern and advanced as it 
was, there were bicycles built for four! 

Another scene was taken in 1865, presumably, and showed 
an engine and train of ancient vintage. They had not at that 
time seen the trains in Sian, so this was to them an American 
train. Still another scene was the inevitable Hollywood love 
scene. One of the actors pressed the leading lady to his manly 
bosom and held her in a passionate kiss. Just as this started, 
my guard was searching for his lost ticket stub on the floor. 

[31] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

But the Kiangsi lad, his eyes starting from his head, gave a 
loud exclamation, punched him violently and cried, "Look!" 
My guard, still bending, lifted his head and sat transfixed. 
His mouth hung open and he did not even straighten his back 
until the scene before him was finished; 

The Kiangsi guard had more presence of mind. He shot a 
startled glance at me to see how I was taking such a shameless 
sight. As I was looking at him and at my guard, he quickly 
turned his guilty head away. The "little devil" was watching 
the scene in amazement. For him it was in the same class as 
the jungle film as the hairy animal that looked like a man. 
For such scenes as that happen only in the bedrooms of hus- 
band and wife in China. 

Of course the railway train and engine were really the high 
points of the experiences of the boys. When my friend left the 
city we took her to the train all except my hsiao \wey, who 
was nowhere to be found. The others examined the train thor- 
oughly, especially the toilets at the end of each car. A few days 
later, along with the "little devil" this time, they climbed the 
mud wall around the railway yard and made a closer examina- 
tion of the trains. It took several hours. When they returned, 
the "little devil' did not talk about the trains. He was depressed 
because one of them had been bombed by the Japanese. 

Later, I took him with me to the hospital to be treated while 
I was having my back cared for. Coming out, I found him in 
misery in front of the hospital. He was bitter when he told me 
they had demanded fifty cents from him and he did not have it. 
He had been in the Red Army for three years and never realized 
that one had to pay for medical care. Even when the money 
was paid and he was examined and given medicine, he still 
hated the hospital. 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

There was another incident that I recall with laughter. One 
day the Kiangsi guard, who was a squad commander of the 
Red Army, went with me to the fine hotel We went to the 
lobby to pick up a camp bed which had been left for us in the 
office. This squad commander is a gruff fellow who made 
the long march. He is slightly stooped, and looks up from 
beneath heavy eyebrows. He speaks only the Kiangsi dialect 
which few other men can understand. He is a fine fighter 
but he is no star on polished floors of fine hotels. 

So, just as we entered the lobby, filled with silk-gowned gen- 
tlemen draping themselves over the heavy chairs and couches, 
this commander lowered his head and bawled at the top of his 
voice at the clerks behind the desk at the other end of the 
lobby, "Where is our camp bed?" 

Then he went toward them, right across that fine, polished 
floor. They stood stupefied. So, halfway across he bawled again, 
"Where is our camp bed?" 

These clerks are cultivated Shanghai chaps in foreign-style 
clothing, and they did not understand a word of the Kiangsi 
dialect. Furthermore, they had never before had a Red Army 
commander charging across the lobby at them, ordering them 
to surrender, so to speak. I was tickled half to death with the 
scene. For the commander was instinctively hostile to every- 
thing around him and the clerks were paralyzed. I explained 
to them that we wanted the camp bed and they surrendered it 
silently to us. I could not help adding, "Never mind such men 
as this will save China from the Japanese." 

The squad commander tossed the camp bed over one shoul- 
der and charged through the swinging doors, through the fancy 
iron gates and to the street beyond. 

There have been many things the boys learned about in Sian. 

[33] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

They visited the electric light plant, for example, and had a 
two-hour detailed lecture on how electricity is made. They 
walked around and around and over and about the huge dyna- 
mos. Up to that time, the largest machine they had ever seen 
was the engine of a motor truck. I would give a lot to hear 
exactly how they will explain electricity to their comrades. 

On the streets they are silent perhaps lest they be taken for 
greenhorns. But once with their friends they talk ceaselessly, 
explaining what they have seen and learned. Back at head- 
quarters they are at home and in their natural environment. 
Typical of their own real life was the mass meeting held on the 
evening of September 26th the day after the First Division of 
the Eighth Route Army, commanded by Lin Piao, had met 
the Japanese on the Great Wall in North Shansi Province. This 
Division of Kiangsi fighters got in the rear of the Japanese 
their tactics have no parallel and cut an enemy division to 
pieces, taking many prisoners and capturing field guns, shells, 
fifty trucks and five armored cars. The Japanese had been roll- 
ing over North China with no one to stop them. Their first en- 
counter with a Communist-led division of seasoned fighters 
had ended in a great victory for China. 

When we received the news in Sian a meeting was held in 
local headquarters. I got out of bed to go. Everybody in the 
building was there, all the men in charge and the cooks and 
the cooks' assistants. There were many released political pris- 
oners from Nanking and Soochow, students from Peiping and 
Tientsin going to Yenan, political workers from Yenan en 
route to various other cities, Eighth Route Army men, guards, 
hsiao \weys, and two foreigners, myself and a New Zealand 
correspondent. 

The meeting was a wildly enthusiastic one. We were told of 

[34] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

the victory in the North and men interrupted the speaker to 
shout slogans. Chou En-lai's 4 wife led the celebration. The 
New Zealander contributed an aboriginal Maori dance of his 
country. I tortured the audience with two songs. A student 
back from Japan tortured me when he sang what he called a 
Japanese love song. A Red Army man told an incident of the 
long march how the army crossed the treacherous Tatu River 
in Sikong, while enemy troops raked their ranks from across 
the river. When he ended, Chou En-lai's wife arose and sang 
two stanzas of a beautiful song of the long march. The melody 
was the ancient one about a wife singing of her husband killed 
while building the Great Wall during the ancient Chin Dy- 
nasty, two hundred years before Christ. Chou En-lai's wife 
sang: 

In May in Lutingchow 

Liu Hung-J^wet's troops 

Fought us desperately. 

But we crossed the Tatu River. 

Seventeen heroes gave their lives 

In the crossing. 

In August we marched northward 

Across the Grass Lands, 

But never felt the cold. 

Never had men crossed these Lands before. 

The strongest of all armies is the Red Army, 

There is no difficulty we cannot conquer. 

4 Chou En-lai, well-known Communist, was secretary of the Whampoa Mili- 
tary Academy in 1927 when Chiang Kai-shek was president of it. He led the 
delegation of Communists who interceded for Chiang Kai-shek's freedom in 
the Sian kidnapping. Now vice-chief of mass mobilization for the combined 
armies of China. 

[35] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

After this fragment of a long ballad, with its haunting 
melody, a group of Peipmg students sang the patriotic song, 
"Fight Back to Your Manchunan Home!" Then a Red Army 
fighter from Kiangsi sang the strangest song I have ever heard. 
I thought it was a song of the aboriginal tribes of Sikong which 
he must have learned during the long march. It was harsh, 
sharp, clear, militant, jerky. It stirred the blood. But it was no 
aboriginal song. It was a Kiangsi folksong as sung by Kiangsi 
Red Army fighters. 

We sang and spoke and danced strange dances, then ended 
the mass meeting by standing up, lifting our fists and shouting 
slogans in praise of the Eighth Route Army. "For there is no 
difficulty it cannot conquer, no fort it cannot take!" 

Near me sat my four lads, the three guards and my "little 
devil," laughing, singing, shouting. This was their natural ele- 
ment. They belonged to the struggle, to warfare. I know that 
not one of them will know anything else ever. For the inde- 
pendence of China will not be gained in a day, or a year, and 
the struggle for liberation in China will last throughout their 
lifetimes even if they live to be fifty. 

Sian 
October 15, 1937 

Tonight the editor of a Sian newspaper showed me the latest 
reports about the Eighth Route Army. These are: 

October roth, Laiyiian, a strategic center in Western Hopei 
Province, was captured from the Japanese. 

October i2th, one brigade of the Eighth Route Army at- 
tacked the Japanese at Kuohsien, inflicting a defeat which was 
not yet decisive, though fighting was continuing. They cap- 
tured twelve motor trucks loaded with gasoline and ammuni- 

[36] 



FROM YENAN TO SIAN 

ion, though the trucks had been damaged in the fighting. 
Prom fifty to sixty of the enemy were killed and as many rifles 
raptured. 

October i4th, the Eighth Route Army recovered the large 
own of Nmgwufu in North Shansi. 

The battle for Yiianping continues, with the Japanese still 
nside the walls. 



[37] 



From Sian to the Front 



En route to the Northern front 
October 16, 1937 

OUR train has been twice delayed, but we left Sian at eleven 
this morning. In our party are two Chinese writers going with 
me as correspondents Chou Li-po and Hsu Chuen; also a 
comrade escorting us, and my two bodyguards. Even the third- 
class cars in which we travel are not crowded. That is because 
we are going toward the war region. Yesterday I saw thousands 
of poor refugees marching through the streets of Sian. They 
were obviously peasants, and they carried all their earthly be- 
longings bundles thrown over their shoulders. Many of the 
women were foot-bound, none seemed to have washed for 
days, and the hair of the women was matted with dust. 

Our trip to Tungkwan was uneventful, though for my body- 
guards it was an event. It was their first train ride. In the mid- 
dle of the afternoon we reached Tungkwan and passed through 
a barrage of examinations of our military passes, and then of 
my passport. I was showing cards right and left for a time. But 
the officer in charge smiled and apologized at the trouble given 
me. 

We went by ricksha for some twenty minutes to the ancient 
walled town. The very name of this town shows that it was a 

[38] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

fortified pass leading into Northwest China. At the gates of 
the old wall we were examined again, then allowed to pass. 
The town is small, the streets bordered by the usual small open 
shops. As we rolled along I heard singing far in the rear. Look- 
ing back I could barely distinguish the dark outline of thou- 
sands of marchers, with a Chinese national banner in the 
vanguard. The marchers were either soldiers or students. As 
they marched, the melody of one of the most popular national 
songs came to us. But soon we lost the marchers, passed through 
another gate, and went down to the banks of the Yellow River. 
Here we would cross and spend the night at Fenglingtohkow, 
just across the river. My Szechwan guard had never seen the 
Yellow River, but my other guard a new one, the commander 
from Kiangsi who had been the guard of a friend of mine 
had been with the Red Army when it crossed the Yellow 
River two years ago and marched into Shansi Province. At 
that time they marched, singing a famous Red Army song set 
to the tune of an old love song of North Shensi. This song be- 
gins by telling of the floating clouds that hide the tops of the 
mountains and mirror themselves in the Hwang Ho the 
Yellow River which is crossed by the "iron Red Army." The 
song continued in satirical reference to the provincial gov- 
ernor of the province, and to all "country-selling traitors.'* 
Now the song is changed. The Eighth Route Army has long 
since crossed the Yellow River without fighting, and it sings 
of the national front against the invading enemy. 

We crossed the yellow sluggish river on a huge junk. It was 
late afternoon and the sun caught in the clouds above the 
range of deep blue mountains stretching to the west. But soon 
we forgot to look, for on our junk there were two Tungpei 
northeastern or Manchurian cavalrymen, just back from the 

[39] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

northern front. One was an older man and one in his thirties 
and both wore sheepskin coats, which showed that they had 
come from cold regions. The younger one talked eagerly with 
us when he heard we were a party from the Eighth Route 
Army. His eagerness was grim, not smiling. "If all the armies 
of China were like the Eighth Route Army," he declared, 
"China would have beaten back the enemy long ago." He told 
us of the Eighth Route Army victories. There were two big 
ones in particularthe one at Pinghsingkwan, a strategic point 
on the Great Wall, on September 25th, and one at Tsingping- 
chen, about one hundred and fifty li to the northwest of 
Pinghsingkwan. The Tsingpingchen victory he described as 
a very big one, with ten thousand Japanese killed, wounded and 
taken captive. 

He told us that when Ho Lung's Division (formerly the 
Second Front Red Army) arrived at the front, he was among 
the Tungpei men to go to Shinhsien to welcome them. A meet- 
ing was held at eleven o'clock at night, and Ho Lung spoke. 
Thousands of people had come to welcome Ho Lung's troops, 
he said, and the applause was unending. When we asked him 
his impression of Ho Lung, he gave a quick jerk of his head 
and said, "Too great for me to describe." 

He talked of the Tungpei cavalry which is now in the 
Pingtichuan region, on the Peiping-Suiyuan railway, guarding 
the approaches to Kweihwa, the capital of Suiyiian Province. 
The Tungpei Army is now reorganized into six armies, he 
said, and all are at the various fronts on the Pinghan (Peiping- 
Hankow) railway, on the Tsinpu line (Tientsin-Nanking). 
The cavalry of twenty thousand men is in the Pingtichuan 
region, and he had just come from there. The cavalry has suf- 
fered heavy losses, he said, his lips thin as he looked at the 

[40] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

Yellow River ruefully. They suffer heavily from Japanese air 
bombings. When once we reach the village and region of 
Yiitze, a small place to the southeast of Taiyiian, he said, we 
would be in the bombing zone. The Japanese bomb the entire 
region north of this each day. They bomb particularly the 
civilian population in the rear. At the front the bombing is not 
so severe. But they are trying to demoralize and destroy the 
civilian population, and they have destroyed whole villages 
and towns. 

Bitterly he shook his head and said, "There are so many 
traitors." We asked who the traitors were and he said they 
were chiefly the loafer and gangster type. 

He told me more of the Tungpei cavalry, and said that Gen- 
eral Ma Chan-shan, who fought the Japanese in the famous 
Noni River region in North Manchuria in 1932, would soon 
command the cavalry. General Ma is now in Kweihwa, and 
soon the cavalry will be organized for Partisan fighting. That 
sounds to me like Eighth Route Army influence. 

The people in Suiyuan Province are well-organized to help 
the armies, he said, but the Japanese have mechanized forces 
and the aircraft is particularly terrible. Still the people help the 
wounded, after the battles. But the people are best organized 
in the whole North Shansi region over which the Eighth Route 
Army is fighting. He told us of Central Government troops in 
Taiyiian and of the daily bombing of Taiyiian by Japanese 
planes. "We have some planes," he added, "but not enough." 

Our junk reached the mud banks of the Hwang Ho before 
the rambling village of Fenglingtohkow. Carriers took our 
luggage and I lagged behind with Chou Li-po and one Eighth 
Route Army comrade who had joined our party with two 
others. (We are gradually re-enforcing our ranks!) I lagged 

[41] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

behind because the mud approaches to the Hwang Ho were 
lined with wounded soldiers. They lay on the bare earth, with- 
out blankets, without care of any kind. Later the junks would 
carry them across the river to the trains, to be transported to 
hospitals in Sian or Loyang. But the junks were being loaded 
with boxes first, and the wounded seemed to be o secondary 
importance. They lay in their faded gray-blue uniforms and a 
few in sheepskins. Some were so badly wounded that gangrene 
had set in and they would not live long. Their bandages were 
bloody and dirty. We talked with them. There were about five 
or six hundred wounded in this little village, waiting to be sent 
to hospitals. These men were wounded in the Pinghsmgkwan 
region near the end of September. They are all Yen Hsi-shan's 
troops, and have been transported on country carts across the 
entire length of Shansi. They have been on the way for nearly 
a month, and have had no medical care since the end of Sep- 
tember. There are no doctors, no nurses, no first-aid workers 
with them. They must take care of themselves, or be cared for 
by the peasants who bring them by cart. I wonder how many 
have died en route. 

Because of our talk with the wounded, we lost our party and 
could not find them in the teeming thousands of people who 
come to this point to cross the Yellow River. We went from 
one mud hotel to another, and we tramped the streets looking. 
A group of three men stopped us and began to talk. One was a 
correspondent from the great Chinese daily, the Ta Kung Pao, 
from Hankow, and he is on his way to the front. We decided 
to go together. He speaks some English and is a very intelli- 
gent, active man. His group and ours divided and began 
searching for our party, I went with Chou Li-po, an Eighth 
Route Army man, and a student just returned from Japan, and 

[42] 




Agnes Smedley (in the uniform of the former Red Army) and 
her HSIAO KWEY, "little devil" 




A wall in Yenan with fosters and proclamations. Note the 
interest in the Spanish Civil War 




PROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

in the growing darkness we searched every house in the place. 
In vain. Then we started out across country to the newly con- 
structed railway station some six li away to see if they were 
there. The railway station here had been bombed by the Jap- 
anese and a new one constructed. Since my back is still bad, 
we caught up with a cart which had been transporting the 
wounded and was now going back. The peasant allowed me to 
ride, and after an hour we reached the station. Our party was 
not there. The moon was high and full and the clouds drifted 
across it so that the night was sometimes dark, sometimes very 
bright. Beyond the station we heard men's voices singing a 
national song. It was a regiment of troops from Szechwan 
Province for Szechwan troops of Liu Hsiang have come clear 
up here to this region. As we walked through the moonlit 
night, the student from Japan told me that photographs of 
Chu Teh and Mao Tse-tung, the leaders of the Chinese Com- 
munists, hang in bookshops and in the homes of many Jap- 
anese workers. 

We had explored every box car, every passenger car, every 
hut, and started back, when we met a comrade and my two 
guards looking for us. We returned to the bombed railway 
station and found all our party, and all our baggage, peacefully 
camped on the station platform. They had not even looked for 
a hotel. I grew rather sarcastic about the inefficiency of intel- 
lectuals and we made off for the town to find a hoteL The 
Ta Kung Pao correspondent is not an incapable intellectual at 
all, but a very capable one. We were put up we were jammed 
in in two small rooms in a mud hotel kept by a Front Service 
Group. My camp bed was put up and the mud J(ang along the 
entire length of the little room was occupied by five men of 
our party. We now had taken unto ourselves the Ta Kung 

[43] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Pao correspondent and three other men going to the front for 
political work. 

I could not sleep. I was too weary. My back gave me trouble. 
I tossed and tumbled and took bromine tablets. I had enough 
money to buy but one tube of bromine. 

Hsu Chuen could not sleep either. He has an injured foot. 
But it was not his foot that kept him awake. It was the talk 
with the Tungpei cavalryman on the junk as we crossed the 
Yellow River. Hsu Chuen is a Manchurian also. He lay awake 
this night with thoughts of his home and his old parents. It 
has been five years since he heard from them, and for these five 
years he has never written. He dares not. He was a Volunteer 
and he is a revolutionary and a patriot So he dares not write to 
his mother or father. But often he lies awake at night with 
memories and thoughts of them and of his country. 

October ij, 1937 

We were up and at the station at eight this morning. We 
took possession of an elegant car with benches in it, though 
others had to travel by box car. Our benches were broken and 
the floor was an inch deep with dirt, but it was an elegant car. 
Then, firmly established and ready for the two-day trip to 
Taiyiian, the train men suddenly told us that this car was not 
going and we must change immediately to a car ahead. Men 
shouted, "Hurry! Hurry!" and all of us began pulling our 
baggage off the racks and handing it out. We grabbed all we 
could and ran for the car ahead. It was a box car with a num- 
ber of Eighth Route Army men in it already sitting on their 
bedding. We took our places. Then a woman from the Eighth 
Route Army, a friend of mine, joined our party. She is director 
of a theatrical group in the political department of the First 

[44] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

Division. She has just had a baby, which she left with her 
brother-in-law's family in Sian, and is off for the front again. 
On the side I may remark that I've taught her birth control 
methods, for neither she nor her husband seem to know about 
such things. 

Although we rushed to this box car, where I now sit writ- 
ing, the train switched back and forth until ten o'clock. Then 
we began rolling slowly along to the north. Through the box 
car door I can see the gigantic range of mountains across the 
Hwang Ho, as they grow dimmer and dimmer. Down this 
range to the west is the famous Hwa Shan, one of the five 
sacred mountains of China. Across from us the range is really 
magnificent in height, in jagged peaks, and hi beauty. Snow 
has already fallen on the tops of some. 

My guard made me a "desk" at one end of the car. Two of 
our boxes are piled up and I sit on a roll of bedding before it 
and write. By my side sits Chou Li-po, writing a report for a 
Shanghai newspaper about the wounded in the town we have 
left. The car has about twenty to twenty-five people in it, some 
of them older men with the typical face which I call the "Eighth 
Route Army" face. It is a very conscious, vital, intelligent face. 
The Ta Kung Pao correspondent sits in the middle of the car 
talking with one of the railway workers who have joined us. 
None of us pays a cent for the trip. We all have military passes. 
Tomorrow night we expect to reach Taiyiian. 

Beyond the doors of the box car the typical landscape o 
Shansi and Shensi Provinces rolls by. The hills and mountains 
of loess are terraced to the tops at times, a very different geologic 
formation from the majestic rocky mountain range rising be- 
yond the Hwang Ho which we have left. The agricultural land 
on the plains is given over to cotton and millet. The houses of 

[45] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

all the villages are made of loess earth, topped with tile roofs. 
There are many trees here and the land is beautiful, sunny, 
and smiling. 

As we travel northward we pass many trains of wounded 
soldiers. We questioned a station master and some railway 
men and they say that one thousand wounded are transported 
south on this line every day. There are many others transported 
by cart. One thousand a day thirty thousand a month! This 
is from North Shansi alone. It does not even include the Eighth 
Route Army, the Tungpei cavalrymen or the Suiyiian troops, 
nor many other forces fighting in the North. The drain on 
China's manpower is colossal. I hear stories that are horrible 
of one whole Tungpei army on the Pinghan line wiped out to 
the last man, fighting, but unable to stand against the mech- 
anized forces of heavy artillery, airplanes, tanks and armored 
trains of the Japanese. It is flesh and blood and the will to free- 
dom against an imperialist army equipped with all the death 
machines of modern times. 

A friend and I alighted from our train at one station and 
went around to a train filled with wounded. Before this train 
stood a great crowd of townspeople with a few hundred Boy 
and Girl Scouts in the center. The people stood and looked in 
misery at the wounded, and the wounded looked back at them. 
Hardly a word was spoken. Yet it was one of the most eloquent 
sights I have ever seen. My friend and I went into the station, 
skirting a long line of wounded. These wounded patiently and 
painfully waited to take their turns at an improvised counter 
in the railway waiting room, behind which stood a lad about 
seventeen or eighteen years of age, dad in a nurse's apron. He 
was sunk completely in his work. By his side was a wicker 
suitcase with only a few bandages and a little medicine left. 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

The wounded watched that precious wicker suitcase. But not 
all could have their wounds dressed. There was not enough 
medicine and there were not enough bandages. The young lad 
working so eagerly kept muttering to himself as he bent to get 
his precious bandages. How precious they are no one can un- 
derstand who has not seen the thousands o wounded in Shansi 
today. Everywhere we are told that there is not enough medi- 
cine, not enough bandages, often no doctors, and only an 
occasional nurse. This one boy nurse had not a soul to help 
him, though the wounded on this train were about four hun- 
dred. 

Outside on the platform the crowd of students and towns- 
people continued to stand and look at the wounded mourn- 
fully. We passed them a number of times. I had the impression 
that the wounded took comfort in this silent watching and 
waiting by their side. But the people were filled with misery. 
Our train soon left. I bent from our freight car to watch. The 
crowd still stood watching and waiting. I knew it would re- 
main there until the wounded left. Later they might remain 
watching the tracks along which their defenders had gone. 

Last night I was awakened by the talking of men. Across 
the space between the open doors of the box car, the brilliant 
moonlight cast a flood of light. It was so bright that the dark 
forms of sleeping men on all sides of me were in total darkness. 
Right in the flood of moonlight stood three men, talking. One 
was a soldier in khaki uniform whom I had watched in our car 
before. His skin is almost the color of his khaki uniform, and 
his face is thin and intelligent. But he is very poorly clad, he 
has no baggage at all, and not even a blanket to cover him at 
night. He has no money, it seems. We share our food with him 
and he always protests while glancing hungrily at the food. He 

[47] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

sits on a sack near the door during the day and about him is an 
air of such elemental simplicity that it borders on humility. 
He has taken no part in the conversation. But now he stands 
in the moonlight and his voice comes to me as something very 
beautiful. He is speaking the North China dialect, and each 
word rings clearly and strongly like a bell. I understand much 
that he says. Then someone answers him swiftly in the South 
China dialect. The soldier does not understand and the south- 
erner must repeat and repeat. I can hardly distinguish a word 
of the southern speech. The speaker is a Hunan man. But the 
soldier is telling of the battle at Nankow Pass in August, and 
of his part in it. He says he was wounded and came down this 
line like the wounded men we saw. 

I get up and join the group in the moonlight. My watch shows 
that it is two o'clock in the morning. On the track next to ours 
is another train filled with wounded. The white bandages about 
their heads gleam in the moonlight. Nearly all are sitting up 
because there is no room for them to lie down. And none seems 
to be sleeping. We talk with them. They are men from General 
Yen Hsi-shan's army and they fought the Japanese north of 
Taiyiian. They don't mind the machine guns or the rifles of 
the enemy, they say, but the field guns are terrible because they 
cannot get at them. They got some medical treatment at Tai- 
yiian, but they do not have enough medicine or bandages. 

I return to my camp cot, on which a woman comrade also 
sleeps, but I can sleep no more. The train of wounded moves 
south, and our train moves northward toward the front. The 
soldier in khaki continues to stand in the moonlight. The 
Hunan man who talked to him has gone back to his pallet and 
is humming an anti-Japanese song. He seems to be seeking 
comfort. My mind teems with a thousand thoughts. Last night 

[48] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

all Eighth Route Army men in the car sang patriotic songs 
sang them solemnly and with conviction. The woman comrade 
and I sang the "Internationale," she in Russian and I in Eng- 
lish. A man joined us in Chinese. Then the three o us sang the 
"Marseillaise," also in three different languages. The others in 
the car listened silently, and then my two bodyguards sang the 
famous Red Army song of the iron Red Army crossing the 
Yellow River. The whole car then sang the song, "September 
i8th." 

Across from me sat two Central Government officers with an 
orderly; they had boarded the train last night. They did not 
join in the singing. One of the officers in particular keeps him- 
self apart from us. 

This morning a teacher from a middle school in Tsinan, 
Shantung Province, also joined us. We have about thirty-five 
men in our car now. The teacher wants to join the Eighth 
Route Army and is going to Taiyiian to make connections. He 
tells me of the fighting along the Tsinpu (Tientsin-Pukow- 
Nanking) railway. It is a disastrous picture he paints. The 
Japanese are rolling over the Chinese armies which have no 
heavy artillery or airplanes to stop them. Whole divisions of 
Chinese troops fight, stand their ground, and are wiped out. 
It is imperative that the people of North China be organized 
and armed. Now they can only stand by the roadside and watch 
the Japanese enemy occupy towns and villages. The teacher 
says: 

"The people in the North have not even been told why they 
should fight the Japanese. The result is that we are losing North 
China. I think the only way to fight the Japanese is the way the 
Eighth Route Army fights. I am going to try and join." 

I learn later that this teacher is a Social-Democrat. But he 

[49] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK. 

will undoubtedly be taken into the Eighth Route Army, which 
has room for every man who is willing to fight the Japanese, 

This morning I talked with the soldier in khaki uniform 
who speaks the beautiful North China dialect. His name is 
Chu Fen-tai and he was a member of the 4th Company of the 
20th Division of the i3th Army of the Central Government. 
This is the story he told me: 

"I am a Hopei (Province) man, a peasant. I joined the i3th 
Army three years ago. My brother had worked in Changchun, 
Manchuria, but when the Japanese came we returned to Hopei 
and joined the Army with the hope that we could fight the 
Japanese. A short time after, we were sent to fight the Red 
Army in Shansi instead of being sent to fight the Japanese." 

One of the officers got up, came over and stood in the door 
of the box car listening. The soldier continued: 

"Many men in the 13 th Army think just as I came to be- 
lieve that the Communists want to make China strong and 
prosperous. But we never learned that in the army." 

"What kind of educational work do you have in the i3th 
Army?" I asked. "Do the soldiers learn to read and write, and 
are they politically trained?" 

The officer bent down and answered for the soldier, "Yes, 
during peace time. When we fight it is impossible." 

Calmly the soldier looked at him and answered, "No, the 
only training we get is an occasional lecture by someone. But 
what is said is not very deep. He merely says the Japanese are 
the enemies of China and we must fight the Japanese. But we 
never learned anything about the condition of China itself." 

I asked the soldier to tell me about the fighting at Nankow, 

[50] 



IROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

the strategic pass on the Great Wall leading into Inner Mon- 
golia. 

"About four months ago/' he said, "our army was stationed 
at Nankow. My company had nine machine guns and, of 
course, rifles. I was a machine gunner." He took my pencil and 
drew a rough sketch in the dust on the box-car floor. "I was 
here," he continued, drawing a square to the southern corner 
o Nankow, "on a high mountain. We knew of the Japanese 
invasion of Peiping. A part of the 2pth Route Army that fought 
in Peiping was garrisoning the railway line from Peiping to 
Suiyiian. Soon General Kao Kwei-tzu's 84th Division also 
joined the defense forces at Nankow. We expected the Jap- 
anese to come along the railway. Japanese airplanes had come 
scouting over our positions, then left. 

"About two months ago we saw about a hundred foreign 
armed men coming from the rear. I opened fire, and we began 
fighting. Soon a large Japanese force joined the approaching 
enemy, and airplanes began to bomb our positions. 

"In that first engagement I fought one whole day and one 
whole night without rest or food. The Japanese put up field 
guns, but we could not locate their positions. We defeated the 
first advance unit of the enemy and captured some of them. 
They were all Japanese students, some of them fifteen to eight- 
een years of age. But after the first engagement, we merely 
defended our positions, and kter were defeated. We were de- 
feated because we merely defended, and did not take the 
offensive. 

"I fought in that position for twenty days and twenty nights. 
Often we were without food except sweet potatoes which the 
peasants brought us. We were weary, exhausted. After twenty 
days we fought hand-to-hand battles with the enemy. Three 

[51] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Japanese attacked me at one time and I fought with a sword. 
I killed two of the men and drove off the other, but they in- 
jured me here on the skull, and here, they shot me through the 
leg just above the ankle." He showed me the scalp wound. It 
was two long, broad scars beginning at the temple and ex- 
tending toward the back of the head. 

"Even after they wounded me I fought them; then I realized 
I could not stand. The blood was streaming all over me and I 
was nearly blinded. But the enemy had taken our position. I 
began to roll down the mountainside to find our comrades. 
No, we had no doctors, no nurses, no first-aid workers on the 
battlefield. The only help we ever got was from the peasants. 
Even during the battle they came bringing us sweet potatoes, 
rice, or water, and they brought us boards or doors from their 
houses to carry away our wounded. Until they helped us, we 
bandaged our wounds with our leggings. 

"I rolled down the mountainside, but saw Japanese troops 
and some armored cars before me. So I crawled up the moun- 
tain again, and at last met two peasants with a door. They put 
me on it and took me to the railway station in the rear, and 
there I was transported to a rear hospital and, later, to Kaifeng 
down in Honan. 

"I am now recovered from my wounds. I am going to Tai- 
yiian, and I want to join the Eighth Route Army." 

That was the soldier's story. 

We halted at the town of Kiehsiu and there an aviation of- 
ficer came up, shook hands with me, and began speaking ex- 
cellent English. He put his arm around my shoulder and 
walked with me, talking. He is going to Taiyuan. He asked 
our party about the Eighth Route Army and wanted the ad- 

[52] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

dress of its headquarters in Taiyiian. At a later station he 
returned and talked with us once more, and said he wanted 
to join the Eighth Route Army. One of our party remarked 
that the whole world seems to want to join the Eighth Route 
Army. 

While we were at Kiehsiu, the garrison commander gave us 
reports from the northern front. The Eighth Route Army has 
had two new victories, he told us, and in one place captured 
one hundred and twenty Japanese railway cars filled with sup- 
plies. Liu Peh-cheng's troops a division of the Eighth Route 
-passed through this town at the end of September, he 
ad he was present at the meeting to welcome them. He 
Ie3"us to some slogans painted on the railway station and build- 
ings in the neighborhood. On the station was a big slogan, 
"Welcome the Eighth Route Army!" Other slogans nearby 
read : 

"Arise, all who do not want to become Japanese slaves!" 

"Support the troops who fight for the country's salvation!" 

"Help the army to free the nation!" 

"The people must cooperate with the army to exterminate the 
invading enemy!" 

Some students from the local military academy told us of 
their work and their military training. They are all being 
trained as officers. In Taiyiian they heard a lecture by an Eighth 
Route Army representative on the organization and arming 
of the people. People in this region are being armed at first 
students and workers, they told us. 

We left this station and, at about sunset, stopped at another. 
The sky in the west was ablaze with the setting sun. The last 
rays lingered on the range of mountains to the east. These 

[53] 




CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

mountains are dusted with the first fall of snow. Winter is 
approaching. 

We saw what the mobilization of the Chinese people means. 
From the two open freight cars back of us came about two 
hundred young peasant men carrying banners bearing the 
characters, "Vanguards against the Japanese" and "Give us 
back our land" the latter an ancient Chinese cry that has 
come down from the beginning of the Mongol invasions of 
China. These peasants lined up in groups of about fifty on the 
station platform and waited. Soon other peasant groups came 
out of the growing darkness and joined them until 
three or four hundred men on the platform with banners.^ 
were typical peasants, bearing small bundles or cotton 
quilts. Most were bareheaded and some had small face towels 
bound about their heads. They seemed to have come from 
placing their plows and mules or donkeys in the stables. They 
marched away to the military training camp where new sol- 
diers are accepted and trained. They were all Volunteers and 
they had their own leaders. 

When they left we saw on the platform huge baskets of the 
dry round pancakes which are eaten in North China. Huge 
jars of boiled water stood near-by. These, we were told, were 
food and water for a trainload of eight hundred wounded com- 
ing from the northern front. There is a temporary rear hospital 
here. For the eight hundred men there are ten doctors, but no 
nurses except the local people who volunteer to help. The men 
at the station to take charge of the wounded had exactly seven 
stretchers among them. They told us that they have very little 
medicine, not even half enough, for this group of wounded, 
and none for the future wounded. They have bandages. 

We leave the station. Our car is now lit by a single candle 

[54] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

which I supplied, while the officer magically produced a candle- 
stick. On one side of the car sat the two officers and their or- 
derly; grouped around them were all the rest. One o the officers 
was telling stories, and they were all bending forward, listening 
with tense interest. The candlelight fell on their faces, casting 
them in sharp relief, then again in shadow. Sometimes they 
all rocked with laughter, their white teeth gleaming. The offi- 
cer was telling them that eight years ago he had been a soldier 
in the i8th Division which was captured by the Red Army and 
disarmed, and its commander, Chang Hwei-tsan, executed. 
The Red Army men had told this officer he could join them, 
or he could get three dollars and go home. 

"I took the three dollars," he added, laughing, "but the men 
who gave it said, 'Take this money, but when you come again 
bring us some good guns.' " 

The car rocked with laughter. For the Red Army used to 
call the Kuomintang armies that were fighting them "our 
transport troops." 

The other officer felt that he had to justify his past actions, 
so he said, "Oh yes, you called us your 'transport troops.' But 
once my division captured one of your chiefs-of-staff and put 
him in prison*" There was complete silence at this remark. 
Everyone looked at him. He lowered his eyes and said no more. 

October 22, 1957 

Since arriving in Taiyiian a few days ago, my life has been 
so filled with work and the study of the situation here, with 
interviews and discussions, with speeches and work to help the 
thousands of wounded, that I have had no time to write. On 
the morning of the ipth, at four o'clock, our train entered the 
city. We went through the silent streets to the local headquar- 

[55] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

ters o the Eighth Route Army. None of us had slept the last 
night because we expected to reach the city before midnight, 
and we had restlessly left the train at each station and asked 
everyone in sight, and ourselves, when we would reach Tai- 
yiian. We were tired when we reached headquarters; but in 
the huge room given our party, we put up boards for beds, 
dragged out tables and chairs, and set to work at our tasks, 
chiefly writing for our particular party consists of writers 
and war correspondents. So when daylight finally came, it 
found us all bending over our writing pads, though I have the 
advantage over all the Chinese of having a typewriter. Break- 
fast of rice and one salted vegetable was brought us; we halted 
to eat, then went to work again. 

We had to interview leading personalities in Taiyiian, in- 
vestigate hospitals and various defense institutions. We were 
told that the public life of Taiyiian is lived almost entirely at 
night, because of the daily air raids. The streets are as silent as 
the dead during the daytime, and only around four in the 
afternoon do people begin to work. However, many do work 
in government and military institutions all the time. We might 
have trouble, for the police clear the streets during the five or 
six air raids each day. The people then take to the underground 
caves which have been constructed everywhere so that the 
parks, gardens, homes and streets of the city are piled with 
hills of dirt, at times making traffic difficult. The population 
is now used to a night-time existence and to the frequent 
screeching of the sirens. But soon I learned that a great many 
people simply ignore the sirens. When the first sirens sounded 
on the early morning of our arrival, we all grabbed our over- 
coats and went for the caves beneath headquarters. But we 
saw that most of the men would consider going to the caves 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

only when the Japanese began bombing near our building. 
After my first rush to the caves, I also ignored most siren warn- 
ings. Since then I have gone underground but once, and that 
was during an interview with General Yen Hsi-shan in Gov- 
ernment headquarters. My two friends, both Chinese news- 
papermen, and I were bending over diaries, notebooks and 
documents taken from Japanese captives, which General Yen 
had just handed us. The sirens began to screech, and soon the 
second warning of immediate danger sounded, and we took the 
Japanese documents and went to the underground caves. 

These underground anti-aircraft cellars under the Govern- 
ment yamen (office building) are veritable catacombs. We 
went down and down, weaving around and around, then down 
more steps, then around and around, along with hundreds of 
officials in the yamen, the workers engaged in erecting a new 
building, and military men of every rank. We finally reached 
a deep level to which no sound penetrated. Then my friends 
and I, and two of General Yen's secretaries, sat down on the 
cement floor, put a candle between us, and spent the time 
translating and reading the Japanese diaries. I got hold of a 
diary of an officer who had been learning English. He had 
copied a number of popular American songs, such as "Blue 
Hawaii," and new songs that I do not know. He also had the 
addresses of various Japanese and foreign prostitutes in Shang- 
hai and Yokohama, and he had written a criticism of each. 

Li-po, one of my companions, was deeply absorbed in the 
diary of a petty officer who had been killed on the battlefield. 
The man had written of the poverty of the Chinese people. One 
passage told how a Japanese unit entered a Chinese village. 
He had gone into the homes of some of the peasants. They did 
not have more than a handful of rice, and no other food what- 

[57] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

ever. After speaking of their desperate poverty, he had added: 
"It is indeed terrible to be men without a country." 
Another diary of a brigade commander read: 
"The Red Army gives me a headache. We Japanese can only 
fight during the daytime, but the Red Army can fight any time. 
Chunghsienshun, September 2pth: Where I now am, I learn 
that the influence of the Communists is very strong. Com- 
munist influence is the foundation of anti-Japanese thought. 
About one hundred and fifty of our motor trucks have all been 
destroyed by the Red Army and fifty or sixty of our soldiers 
killed. One of our company commanders was among those 
killed. Around here even these Chinese women join the war 
and throw hand grenades. I have received orders from my 
superior officers that every person in this place must be killed." 
Li-po read these passages from the diary with exclamations 
of excitement. From another one, which seemed to be by a 
lower officer, he read: 

"I am very tired. At such times, when we are all so tired, we 
officers are unable to command our troops. Some of our troops 
pile their things on the horses, even unnecessary things. They 
also throw away many things. They do not want to dig trenches, 
so our defense is not strong enough. We often have only muddy 
water to drink. Chinese pancakes make a most convenient 
food while our food is not convenient for the purposes of an 
army. At the front we need matches and candles, but they are 
not enough. At night we have to have careful arrangements, 
because if we ask the Chinese anything they always lie to us. 
The Chinese soldiers, even when wounded, do not leave the 
front. They wait for us to come near, and then they use their 
bayonets to kill our men. Some of them save a cartridge in 

[58] 




Scene on Main Street, Sian 




]un\s being loaded at FenglingtohT^ow to cross the 
Yellow River to Tungwan 




Wounded soldiers in jitn/^s at Fenglingtohkow 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

their pistols to kill themselves. Though these men are our 
enemies, they are great men." 

Li-po was reading aloud, and the men in the cave had now 
all crowded about us. They squatted down and looked over 
Li-po's shoulder, and when I glanced up I saw a score of faces 
right above our heads. The light frqp the candle lit up their 
faces, solemn, serious, deeply expressive with the emotions 
aroused by the heroism of their soldiers. 

The diary of another high officer read: 

"Japanese officers and soldiers have dreamed day and night 
of occupying Paoting. We have the help of Buddha and so 
have occupied Paoting. We are now driving toward Shihchia- 
chwang. Some people thought that after we occupied Paoting 
the war would end. This is wrong. We must drive the Chinese 
troops beyond the Yellow River and then complete the punish- 
ment of China. It is the weak point of the Japanese Army that 
some people are satisfied with small successes. Easy to become 
warm, easy to become cold, is the weak point of the Japanese. 
We must correct all such weaknesses. The present goal of our 
war is the Yellow River the Yellow River!" 

Still another passage in this diary read: 

"Our Shihyiian company guarding our baggage passed a 
village today. We had taken Chinese coolies to carry the bag- 
gage, but at this village they rebelled. They had no weapons, 
but they captured some rifles from our own troops and fought 
us with them. They did not know how to use the rifles, so they 
used them as clubs to attack us. They beat three of our soldiers 
almost to death. 

"Sometimes we find signs of warnings, in the form of a cer- 
tain cross on walls, trees, and stones. When we see this sign we 
know that Chinese cannons are hidden in this region." 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Diary after diary we read while the Japanese planes bombed 
the city above. One captured Japanese document, which we 
did not see because it was being studied by the high military 
command, contained the exact Japanese plans for the attack 
and capture of Taiyiian. This plan shows that the Japanese 
intend to capture all Shansi Province before the League of 
Nations meets to discuss the problem of China. As they did 
in Manchuria, the Japanese intend to confront the world with 
a fatt accompli and say, "What are you going to do about it?" 

But I have gone ahead of events. To return to the head- 
quarters of the Eighth Route Army: my two companions and 
I ignored warnings and came to the yamen to interview Gen- 
eral Yen Hsi-shan and to meet the director of the Army Medi- 
cal Department and discuss the problem of more adequate 
care of the wounded. We had a short talk with General Yen, 
and afterwards talked with Dr. Poh, director of the Medical 
Department. General Yen is a very old man and he was very 
busy. We asked General Yen how he intended to defend 
Taiyiian, and he replied that he was not sure, but that the 
Chinese would fight to the end. It is not for Shansi Province 
or Taiyiian alone that they fight, but for all China. When we 
asked about the situation on the northern front, however, he 
replied by quoting the captured Japanese diaries. These diaries 
reveal on the whole a strong hatred of war in the ranks of the 
Japanese Army, he said. A number of officers about the table 
with us also talked of the diaries, and we simply could not get 
them to discuss anything else. It was two days later that I met 
General Fu Tso-yi, who became famous last year for his de- 
fense of Suiyiian Province. I asked General Fu about the sit- 
uation on the northern front, and asked him if the Chinese 
could hold back the enemy. In almost the same way as General 

[60] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

Yen and General Yen's officers. General Fu replied by quoting 
the captured Japanese diaries. I gained the impression which 
might be unreliable that these generals expect the Japanese 
soldiers to revolt and stop this war. General Fu talked about the 
anti-war feeling o the Japanese people, and he seemed to place 
great faith in this. I combated this idea, telling him that though 
the Japanese soldiers are anti-war, and the Japanese people also, 
this means nothing. The Japanese soldier is a slave and he obeys 
his military lord, while the Japanese press is filled with distor- 
tions and lies so that the Japanese people know nothing of the 
truth about China. The Japanese people and soldiers alike are 
told that the Chinese slaughter the Japanese. Beyond this they 
know little of the Chinese. 

At another time I talked with Chou En-lai, one of the ablest 
Communist leaders. Of all the men I met in Taiyiian, he was 
clearly the most realistic, the most able, the most efficient. He is 
of fine, handsome appearance, and in all respects a man of broad 
knowledge and culture. In him, as in Mao Tse-tung, Chu Teh, 
Peng Teh-hwei, and a number of other Eighth Route Army 
and Communist Party leaders, China has some of the most able 
men. He questioned me about all things. When I related my 
conversations with General Yen and General Fu about the 
diaries, and remarked that I had the impression that they ex- 
pected a revolt in the Japanese Army, Chou En-lai did not move 
until I had finished. I told him that though I might be mis- 
taken, this seemed to me an illusion similar to the belief five 
years ago that the League of Nations or various foreign powers 
would give China back its occupied lands. Chou En-lai jerked 
his head impatiently in agreement with my view. 

It was in General Yen's yamen that we talked with Dr. Poh, 
director of the Medical Department of the Northwestern 

[61] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Armies. He spoke of the terrible condition of the wounded in 
Shansi. There are not half enough doctors, nurses, or other 
medical workers. There is not enough medicine by half, and not 
half enough bandages. There is no x-ray machine and they lack 
many of the most essential surgical instruments. He told us that 
along the northern battlefront, a distance of hundreds of li, 
there are only seven motor trucks to transport the wounded. 
The remaining wounded are picked up by peasants and carried 
on boards to some far medical station even as far away as 
Taiyuan, before the wounded men get help. He told us that 
there are eighteen hospitals in this Province, built to accommo- 
date six thousand men, but now filled with fifteen thousand. 
He gave me a list of medical supplies and apparatus which he 
said were urgently needed, and I later sent it to various people, 
asking them for help. 

Dr. Poh was kind enough to send us to one of the Base Hos- 
pitals in Taiyuan. It was the roth Base Hospital, one of five in 
Taiyuan. It has one thousand three hundred wounded in it, of 
the seven thousand wounded in Taiyuan. This one hospital 
alone treated five thousand wounded last month, and seven 
thousand this month. The doctors who took us through it told 
of their colossal problems. Each doctor there are only twenty 
of them in this great hospital, with eighty nurses to help does 
the work of a dozen men. More. They do this work without 
adequate facilities. They have no means for blood transfusions, 
so that they lose large numbers of men from loss of blood. They 
have no anti-tetanus serum at all, so that tetanus claims large 
numbers in death. 

We went through one of the wards for the severely wounded, 
and my blood ran cold. One young soldier sat up in his bed 
and kept uttering cries and pointing to his face. The entire 

[62] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

lower part of his face was heavily bandaged and I could well 
picture the wound beneath. Since the hospitals are without 
drugs to curb the anguish of the wounded, this man, like many 
others, suffered perpetual agony. He cried to us and to the 
doctors, pointing to his face. He could not speak. Other soldiers 
lay, uttering the low, ceaseless moans of the deeply wounded, 
their eyes fixed in a faraway stare. They neither saw us nor felt 
us when we touched them. Still they were not unconscious. 
Their minds were held in bondage by pain. We stood and looked 
down the long rows of wounded, and listened to their moans, 
their cries and mutterings. With all my heart, with all that was 
life within me, I hated the Japanese military who have caused 
this, who have directed the invasion of China, the maiming 
and slaughtering of its people. 

Night came while we were in the hospital. As we went out we 
came upon a Front Service Group of the Eighth Route Army 
which is giving plays and singing revolutionary songs in the 
hospitals and to the soldiers of all the armies. Ting Ling, the 
woman writer, is the leader of the group. About their platform 
now were grouped a few hundred of the wounded who were 
able to move about. I did not watch the dances and plays pre- 
sented for their entertainment because I was watching the faces 
of the wounded. They were enthralled with the presentation. 
But above all I was watching two wounded men who stood 
near us. One was clearly a peasant, and perhaps in his early 
thirties. He was standing with a young soldier about eighteen 
years of age. The older man was talking as one might to a 
younger brother. 

"These players are from the Eighth Route Army," he was 
saying earnestly. "You know, that was the Red Army. They 

[63] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

have many clubs, theatrical groups, and study classes in that 
army." 

The younger soldier turned his wondering eyes on the stage, 
saying nothing. But the older man began talking, insistently, 
once more: 

"The Eighth Route Army is the best organized army in the 
country. My machine-gun company fought the Red Army 
under Chu Teh and Ho Lung in Kweichow. They are great 
fighters. We could do nothing against them." 

On the following day I went to the foreign missionary hos- 
pital in the city to get medical treatment for my back. Since the 
thousands of Chinese wounded had left an indelible impression 
on my mind, I asked the woman doctor who attended me if 
this hospital also had wounded soldiers. She replied that they 
had just twenty. But then, she said, there are not many Chinese 
wounded, because the Chinese troops always turn and run 
away when the Japanese approach. 

I was almost speechless with astonishment and disgust. Some 
missionaries have lived in China for twenty years, but have 
learned little. They are kind enough to me because I am a 
foreigner, but I share little or nothing of their thoughts, their 
beliefs, or their so-called culture. 

On the night of the 2ist I worked through the night. We were 
to leave for the front early the next morning. Chou En-lai at 
last found time to give me an interview. This began a little after 
midnight and lasted for about two hours. The rest of the night 
I worked, typing. 

At eight the next morning I went to interview General Fu 
Tso-yi. Our truck was to leave at ten. It was nine before General 
Fu was free from other appointments, and so we had but half 
an hour for the talk. He said Kweihwa had been occupied by 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

the Japanese because there were insufficient Chinese forces there 
to hold the city. The Japanese had used their field guns and 
tanks, and the Chinese could do nothing against them, particu- 
larly when they were accompanied by air bombers. Powtow, the 
end station on the Suiyiian railway, had been lost in the same 
way, and two regiments o Chinese troops were retreating to 
the west. General Fu formerly had three brigades of troops, but 
now has only one. He is at present one of the three main com- 
manders on the North Shansi front. 

General Fu is a pleasing personality. He is tall and strongly 
built, simple and direct in manner. He is one of the most ad- 
vanced military leaders of the Northwest, one of the most mod- 
ern and open-minded. He is a patriot and an able general. I 
had been surprised the day before when he sent his English 
secretary to me to borrow the latest foreign newspapers and 
magazines from Shanghai. His secretary talked with me about 
the possible retreat from the northern and eastern fronts, but 
I do not know whose ideas he reflected. In any case, he had the 
routes of retreat all marked out, but he mentioned no route for 
an offensive against the enemy. I asked the secretary why he 
talked only of retreat and why he and the others could not learn 
from the experience of the Red Army while it was in Kiangsi 
when, for ten years, it not only defended itself but extended 
Soviet territory, holding its lines against an enemy a hundred 
times its strength. That, said the secretary, was different! Today 
the enemy is Japan, with its motorized columns. I replied that 
this was not so different the Nanking Government had used 
airplanes, field guns, trucks and tanks against the Red Army 
which had nothing but rifles and machine guns. 

But General Fu himself did not take up the question of re- 
treat. In the short time we had, he talked about the anti-war 

[65] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

spirit in the Japanese armies of invasion. He was also much 
more interested in talking about the international situation. But 
he did tell me of secret orders and documents which the Chinese 
troops had captured from the Japanese. One of these was an 
order issued by a Japanese officer, Ban Yuan, on October 4th, 
for the capture of Taiyiian. He told me also how whole towns 
and villages, one of them with two thousand people, had been 
exterminated by the Japanese. Not even a baby had been left 
alive. Diaries of the Japanese officers related the killing of whole 
populations, and later the Eighth Route Army had found these 
ruins. 

General Fu spoke of foreign friends of China. He is very 
proud, as a Chinese, that China has the sympathy of the demo- 
cratic nations of the world. All Chinese would welcome foreign 
technical help in particular, he said. 

I went back to headquarters. While I was on my way the 
sirens sounded the warning of another air raid. It delayed us 
for a time, and I was able to get General Fu's interview off in the 
post while the raid was going on. But the raid was a serious 
one. Four great Japanese bombers, blue steel with the sun glint- 
ing on them, droned menacingly over Taiyiian. We watched 
from under the eaves of the buildings as they dropped bombs 
on the city. The roar of the bombs came to us from the center 
of the city, the marketplace. The planes headed in our direction, 
unloading their missiles of death and destruction, and people 
demanded that all of us go to the caves. We went in anger, 
slowly, watching the bearers of death in the sky. Again I felt 
hatred blind me, as I had felt it in the hospital. Someone 
kept pushing me down the steps into the cave. But in the en- 
trance a number of men stood, angry as I was angry. We did 
not want to go down, so we left and came up again. We stood 
[66] 



FROM SIAN TO THE FRONT 

out under the trees and watched the murderers in the air, 
raining death on this beautiful old city. Flames rose from 
many places in the center of the city. We went back to our 
work and after a time the roar of the anti-aircraft guns and 
the rattle of machine guns came to an end. The planes were 
gone. The sky remained dotted with small clouds of smoke 
where the shells of the guns had exploded. But they had 
brought down no enemy planes. On this day all the Chinese 
planes were at the front, fighting, and the Japanese had made 
good use of their time. 

This raid was revenge for a Japanese defeat. Three nights 
ago two companies of the Eighth Route Army made a swift 
descent on the Japanese airdrome five miles from Yenmenpao, 
behind the Japanese front at Sinkow. There were twenty-four 
planes there. The two companies of the ii5th Division of 
the Eighth Route Army had swept down from the hills and 
destroyed twenty-one planes before the Japanese woke up. 
Three planes escaped damage because one of the Chinese 
companies became excited and failed to carry out orders. One 
company was to stand guard and protect the other company 
destroying the planes. But the company ordered to stand guard 
lost its head when they saw these planes that had brought such 
destruction to their people. Fearing that the other company 
could not destroy them all before the Japanese attacked, this 
company also rushed forward and helped in the destruction. 
When the Japanese came, three planes remained undestroyed, 
and the Chinese had to retreat. 

Today the Japanese replied by sending four bombers from 
Paoting, in Hopei Province far to the east, to bomb Taiyiian. 

When the air raid was over, I posted my interview with 
General Fu, we took our baggage to the truck, and started out 

[67] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

toward the northern front. Actually behind the Japanese lines 
there is the vast region held by the Eighth Route Army, and 
somewhere there is its headquarters. That is where I am 
going. 



[68] 



With the Roving Headquarters 
of Chu Teh 



Somewhere in the Wutai Mountains, 

North Shansi 

October 23, 1937 

AM writing this from the headquarters of the Eighth Route 
\jrmy, in North Shansi, somewhere on a range of mountains 
>ehind the lines of the Japanese. Twenty to thirty miles away 
s the chief concentration of the Japanese. To the south of 
hem, on the surrounding mountains, are the positions of the 
Jhansi Provincial and Central Government armies. 

We left Taiyiian yesterday noon by truck, passed along the 
)lain north of the city toward the front, then made our way 
hrough valleys bordered by stony mountains. In many places 
ve saw signs of destruction caused by Japanese bombers. 
loads had been destroyed and the railway to the north dam- 
iged. Since I had worked all night, I was tired. The two 
Chinese newspapermen had slept only two or three hours. 
>o we all slept now. I awoke at times and saw that we had 
lot yet been bombed, and that we were still rolling along 
valleys bordered by stony mountains. Darkness found us still 
>n the road. We began to meet motor trucks filled with armed 
Chinese soldiers. They seemed to be coming from some front, 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

but they were so cheerful that it was clear that they were not 
defeated troops. We must have passed fifty of these trucks, all 
bristling with armed men. They could not tell us where they 
came from or where they were going. I felt that this night 
transport was a dangerous thing. The headlights of the trucks 
could be seen for miles, and it seemed the easiest thing in the 
world for the Japanese planes to bomb them. I learned later 
that the Japanese had bombed two trucks filled with gasoline 
the night before and had found them by their headlights. 
The noise of the trucks had prevented the chauffeurs from 
hearing the roar of the approaching planes. We met large num- 
bers of marching men, with baggage trains of mules and 
horses. They were all coming from the Wutai mountains, but 
they were not Eighth Route Army men. 

It was late at night when we reached a walled town in the 
Wutai mountains. This town the Japanese planes honor each 
day by air raids. The organization known as the Front Mobi- 
lization Committee put us up for the night. Young, cheerful 
fellows from the Eighth Route Army were in charge. They 
told us that they had begun organizing young peasants for 
Partisan warfare 6 three weeks before, that nearly fifteen hun- 
dred men in this region have joined the Partisans. They were 
given training in Partisan tactics for two weeks and sent to 
the front a few days ago. New volunteers come in each day. 
All are peasants. They never become regular parts of the 
army, but remain tillers of the land during seasons when 
there is work. Many of the Partisans, typical North Chinese 
men, wandered into the room and stood looking at us, smil- 
ing and replying to our questions. 

5 Irregular bands of farmers and villagers are armed and trained in guerrilla 
tactics, defending their own homes and harassing the enemy from the hills 
and behind the lines 

[70] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

Early the next morning we left our baggage behind and 
quit the town hurriedly to avoid the air raids. Many buildings 
in the town are heaps of dust and stone, the city walls have 
been broken in places, great holes in and near the town show 
where bombs landed, and we were told that about ten peas- 
ants and thirty farm animals have been killed here in the 
past couple of weeks. But the people have dug underground 
caves and so have some protection. 

We began a long walk up into the mountains over stony 
paths. Slogans and proclamations of the Eighth Route Army 
were pasted or written on the walls of the towns, temples and 
old archways that had once led to towns long since sunk in 
dust. On the walls of one temple we read the slogans : 

"Slaves without a country must never be traitors!" 

"Boycott all Japanese goods." 

"All people, organize and arm yourselves." 

Inside the temple was a pasted proclamation signed by Chu 
Teh, commander-in-chief of the Eighth Route Army, and 
Peng Teh-hwei, second in command. This proclamation was 
written in very simple sentences which everyone with an 
elementary knowledge of Chinese could read. It was clearly 
directed to the peasant population. It read: 

"Our army has obeyed the order to go to the front to fight for 
national salvation. We support the leadership of the Central Gov- 
ernment to drive the Japanese robbers from our land. We work 
for the cooperation of all the people of our country, and the people 
of France, U.S.S.R., England, and America. We defend North 
China and the Northwest. We will continue to fight and recover 
the Northeast. We will carry out the policy of the united front. 
We have our anti-Japanese, national salvation program, and for 
this we will fight. 

[71] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

"Our army will buy things from the citizens at market prices. 
We strongly forbid any man in our army to take the carts of the 
people for transportation, or to force any man to work for us 
without pay. No man m our army may take anything which be- 
longs to the people. Our army is an army to guard and protect 
our fellow-countrymen. 

"Any person who acts as a traitor will be tried by martial law. 
"We hope all our countrymen will join national salvation work. 
The anti- Japanese war must end in victory." 

We passed the temple and were toiling upward along a 
stony path when my two companions began to question me 
about Chu Teh and Peng Teh-hwei. I said that Peng Teh- 
hwei would be one of the greatest military leaders of Asia, 
just as Mao Tse-tung would one day be the greatest political 
leader of Asia. I was describing Peng Teh-hwei as a strong, 
heavy-set fellow of boundless energy when we halted. A horse 
stood across the pathway and beside it two men stood talking. 
One of the men had a broad grin on his face. It was an excep- 
tionally broad grin, and the man was in blue military uniform. 
There is only one man in the Eighth Route Army with a 
mouth big enough to grin until his face is split from ear to 
ear. That man is Peng Teh-hwei, whom I had just been call- 
ing the greatest military leader in the Asia of the future. I had 
forgotten to tell my companions that he also could carry off 
first honors as champion grmner when the occasion required. 
And here he stood, broad, stocky, as stjrong as an ox, in the 
middle of a mountain path, with the bare stone hills behind 
him. He held the reins of his horse over one arm. With the 
other he was greeting us. 

From looking at and listening to Peng Teh-hwei, you would 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

never dream that the northern front was in danger from the 
Japanese. He had hardly ceased greeting us when he said: 

"Things are excellent with our Army. We have taken back 
Pinghsingkwan, Yenmenkwan, Fuping, Sinchow, Ningwu. 
Five nights ago we destroyed twenty-one enemy airplanes and 
each day we capture so much ammunition from the enemy 

that we can't transport it. We have taken " here he rattled 

of? a string of names of towns in various parts of North 
Shansi and in Western Hopei Province. "General Chiang 
Kai-shek," he said, smiling happily, "has just sent an order to 
his troops to hold the northern front, and said that any man 
who retreated would be shot." 

Peng Teh-hwei was on his way to Taiyiian, but, he said, he 
would return in two days. And with that he was off down the 
stony path. With him went his one guard and his mafao. 
He wore no insignia of rank though the Nanking Govern- 
ment has conferred upon him and Chu Teh the rank of full 
generals. But no commander in the Eighth Route Army wears 
a sign of a title. They are, and will remain, "comrades." 

A short distance farther on we met our friend, the Ta 
Kung Pao correspondent, returning from three days at the 
front headquarters. We greeted each other like long lost 
friends, and then he went on his way. He is going to Lan- 
chow, in Kansu, making a tour of the entire northern and 
northwestern battlefronts. Some Chinese newspapers', and a 
few Chinese newspapermen, can rank with the best in the 
world. 

After hours of tramping, we reached the headquarters of 
the Eighth Route Army and entered a courtyard in which 
Lin Piao, commander of the First Division, and Nieh Jung- 
chen, his political commissar, stood talking with Jen Peh-si, 

[73] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

political commissar of the whole army, and his assistant, Ting 
Hsiao-ping. We delivered packages of newspapers and maga- 
zines from many lands. Here was a pile of the Izvestia from 
Moscow, which was seized upon by someone. Here were 
copies of the Moscow Daily News. Here also were copies of 
the New Masses, The Nation, The Communist, and Asia, 
from New York. And here was a German magazine from 
Prague. We brought also a bundle of foreign and Chinese 
newspapers and magazines published in Shanghai. And so, 
of course, we were welcomed not for ourselves alone but for 
the treasures we brought. We were soon busy selecting du- 
plicates of these newspapers to send to Ho Lung's headquarters 
somewhere toward the west. 

We told the news we had from the outside, though some of 
it is already known here at headquarters. They have a good 
radio, but the news is not detailed in any respect. Then they 
gave us news from the front. At some place, last night, Hsu 
Hai-tung had swept down on a Japanese transport and cap- 
tured thirteen truckloads of supplies. These include winter 
overcoats, food, and gasoline. 

Men in headquarters began showing us captured trophies 
of war. Nearly all the men here now have winter overcoats 
with hoods, and they brought out handfuls of fine Japanese 
automatic pistols. They have many big Japanese horses here 
also. Tomorrow Hsu Hai-tung will be sending some more 
coats this way. 

The Eighth Route Army remains the Workers and Peasants 
Army in its methods: it is arming itself and the people of the 
North exactly as it armed the workers and peasants of South 
China. It is capturing rifles, pistols, machine guns, trucks, 
tanks, food supplies, clothing, from the Japanese. 

[74l 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

I am too weary to go over to Chu Teh's headquarters to 
greet him. Tomorrow I shall go. But his wife, Kang Keh- 
chin, has come to welcome us. She comes smiling, this simple, 
capable peasant girl from Kiangsi, one of the best trained 
women in the army. She has just arrived from the Anti- 
Japanese University in Yenan, in North Shensi Province, and 
she will soon take up political work in the army. She is a fine 
woman, not yet thirty. She goes, and I sleep. 

Eighth Route Army Headquarters 
October 24, 193? 

The moon was still high in the sky when I awoke this 
morning. I watched the light on the old tiled roofs in the 
courtyard before my window. The faint distant strains of 
music came to me. First a few sounds, then a few others, as if 
the notes of an orchestra were escaping into the early dawn. 
But I could not make out from which direction they came, 
and I was too lazy to get out of bed into the frosty morning 
air. But something very beautiful was being played somewhere 
in the distance, something so sweet, so entrancing, that I lifted 
myself from my bed and strained my ears to hear. 

At last I arose, wrapped my winter coat about me, slipped 
into my shoes and went out. The dawn was coming, fading 
the light of the moon which still hung in the sky. From some- 
where beyond our courtyard, with its tiled, gargoyled roofs, 
the orchestra continued to play. I left the courtyard, passed the 
guard at the entrance, and went down the silent lanes into the 
forest beyond. And there I found the orchestra. It was the 
music of dawn, of the coming of the day. A bird's trill 
sounded here, sounded there. Another bird's call sounded near 
at hand. Beyond, a flock of birds sang until their spirits seemed 

[75] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

to be escaping them. The leaves of the forest rustled. A cock 
crowed and another cock answered, and then many cocks 
crowed. The faint echo of a dog's bark came, and the low, soft 
lowing of a cow came like the notes of a distant musical in- 
strument All the life of the earth was awakening. The forest 
and the life within the forest stirred. I stood in wonderment 
and listened to this music, so sweet, so unutterably sweet. 
Then through this faint, discernible and yet almost indis- 
cernible music came a new sound. The first bugle call of the 
day. It came, gentle, coaxing, and it seemed to be shaking the 
shoulders of the fighters gently, gently, saying, "Come now, 
get up, do get up, please get up! Comrade, do not be lazy, 
look, the day is here!" 

This particular bugle call always makes me smile. It is like 
a mother talking to her children. The later ones are orders, 
but this one is filled with tender, affectionate coaxing. 

The sleepers heard, sat up on their J(angs f and stepped out 
into their shoes. Most of them sleep fully clad except for their 
shoes. I did not see them arise but I knew they had, because 
the spell of the morning was broken. The day had come. The 
mountains that encircle us turned blue under the flood of 
light. I turned back, but halted on the way to greet my be- 
loved pony, Yunnan, who has a stable across the lane from 
me. He lives in style, with no companion except my mule. 
This is necessary because he is a ferocious little beast and he 
fights all the other horses. But they fight him, and since they 
are larger than he is, they eat his food so that he never gets 
enough to eat. Last night Chu Teh sent him over to me, regret- 
fully. I had sent him to the front, and Chu Teh himself had 
brought him up here. I thought that if Chu Teh liked him 
I might agree to surrender him. But I can't do it! So Yunnan 

[76] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

and I stand here, and though he has forgotten me, I love him 
still. He is small, but he is as swift as light, ^and when he runs 
he lifts his feet high in the air. He seems to be a small edition 
of an Arabian steed. Though he comes from the far south, he 
is now growing a long coat of thick hair for protection in the 
northern winter, just like the Mongolian horses. 

I went over to see Chu Teh. He sat out on the terrace of his 
headquarters, and was being shaved by the barber. With a 
towel around his shoulders, he arose to greet me, his broad, 
dark face smiling a welcome. Chu Teh's name arouses terror 
in the hearts of his enemies. That is easy to understand. But I 
personally believe him to be the kindest, gentlest man I have 
ever known. He is a man of the utmost simplicity, and he does 
not know the meaning of pride. He is fifty and more now, but 
his mind remains alert, alive, and he is anxious to learn from 
all people. In no particular is he selfish or moved by personal 
motives. These qualities have won for him the devotion of the 
whole army which he commands. 

He sat and talked informally with us for several hours, and 
of nothing but military matters. He spoke with pride of the 
Eighth Route Army, of its long succession of victories. As we 
talked of their fighting, of the Japanese, and of the way the 
Japanese invaders slaughter the population of whole villages 
and towns, I saw something in this man which I had never 
seen before. Here was the warrior, the Chinese patriot, the 
Chinese Communist, speaking. His face, his voice, his whole 
being expressed relentless hatred of the invaders. He has read 
the captured Japanese diaries, but they have not given him the 
false hope that the Japanese Army will revolt. He told us how 
the Japanese troops refuse to be taken captive, and do not 
give up their arms until killed. 

[77] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK. 

"But this is due," he said, "not to their fearlessness, but to 
their fear. They have slaughtered so many of our people that 
they think we will take them captive and then kill them. They 
kill all captives, they kill peasants, they rape and then 
slaughter our women, and they kill even our babies. When 
we finally surround them, they fight desperately, sure that 
they will be killed/' 

Chu Teh is a gentle, tender man when with his friends and 
comrades. But when at war he is a grim, relentless fighter. 

While we talked Peng Teh-hwei walked in, grinning, with 
news from the front. General Chiang Kai-shek had ordered 
all troops to strengthen their defenses and hold them tena- 
ciously for another month. We went to lunch together and the 
staff discussed the details of the front defenses, held by Cen- 
tral Government forces and General Yen's Shansi Army. Chu 
Teh held a telegram in his hand, listening to the rest of the 
staff. His glasses had sunk far down on his nose and he was 
peering over the top of them. His cap was thrust halfway 
back on his shaved head. His eyes were concentrated black 
points, tense with listening and thinking. 

Chu Teh turned to the military maps that line the walls and 
part of the ceiling of two rooms, and explained them to us. 
Peng Teh-hwei told of a manifesto circulated by some soldiers 
in the Japanese Army which the Eighth Route has captured. 
It has three main points: The Japanese invasion of China is 
a crime. China is not the enemy of the Japanese people; it is 
the Japanese military lords who are the enemy. Lastly, all 
Japanese must unite to fight the militarists. 

Chu Teh gave us permission to go to the front when we 
wish. We will go with some fighting unit. We left the Gen- 
eral Staff working around a table, planning a new offensive 

[78] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

of the Eighth Route Army in the rear of the enemy. A mes- 
senger leaves tomorrow and we can send mail. So we go back 
to our rooms to work. 

It is now almost midnight. We have been writing. Hsu 
Chuen still plugs onward, but Chou Li-po has fallen by the 
wayside and lies asleep on the f(ang at the far end of the 
room, on which our guards peacefully snore. 

Eighth Route Army Headquarters 
October 25, 7937 

To our breakfast of rice and vegetables, two new things 
were added this morning a tin of vegetables and meat, and 
a sack of biscuits captured from the Japanese. Headquarters 
has received many boxes of war trophies. A box of overcoats 
has also come, and some more medals and insignia stripes 
taken from the Japanese dead. Some Japanese captives are 
being sent over by Ho Lung. In an engagement yesterday, 
one of Ho Lung's Partisan units, peasants from the near-by 
farms, killed sixty Japanese, but lost not one man. Each day, 
and often many times a day, men come into our courtyard 
with the latest news. A Partisan unit has killed twenty Japa- 
nese here, forty there, sixty at another place; they have cap- 
tured fifteen supply trucks, fifty supply trucks, they have re- 
taken another city. The reports come in all the time. It is 
impossible to list them all. But the Eighth Route Army has no 
real front. Wherever an Eighth Route Army man is standing, 
there is a front. And so their "front" extends from Chahar 
Province to the north, all around Tatung, to Suiyiian in the 
west and to the Pinghan railway line to the east. This army is 
fighting in a hundred different places at the same time. I shall 
soon review their activities, their achievements, their losses. 

[79l 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

October 31, 1937 

We have been on the march almost daily. Instead of cross- 
ing the Chentai railway last night as we planned, our head- 
quarters decided we should go to a village ten li (about three 
and one-half miles) from the railway line and cross tomorrow 
night. It would certainly be a hard march if we attempted to 
cross tonight. From here to the railway it is about eighty to 
ninety li, and to make this distance from midnight to dawn, 
with the heavily burdened animals, would be too much. 

This morning we got up at three or a little after, and by 
half past four we are slowly moving through the narrow 
streets of the village. The moon has rapidly waned and our 
only light comes from the stars and our flashlights. The nar- 
row streets are clogged with men and animals, and there is a 
medley of noise beyond description. The mules and donkeys 
bray, the horses neigh, squeal and kick, and peasant drivers 
crack their whips until they sound like pistol shots, and there 
are shouts that rival the braying of mules. "Ma-di-^eh-pi!" 
shout the drivers to some recalcitrant donkey or mule, and 
the ancient folk curse of Asia is echoed and re-echoed far and 
near. 

Through this all-permeating medley of noise comes the 
sound of singing. Down the line in the distance men are sing- 
ing in chorus, singing the song, "Fight Back to Your Man- 
churian Home." The singing comes clearly at times; then the 
discord of curses, neighing and braying and the tramping of 
hoofs drown it. Sometimes it seems that the medley of noise 
rises and falls in waves, for the music comes clearly to us at 
times, then is lost except for a few notes that force their way 
through. 

At last we move forward, along streets bordered by high 

[80] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

mud walls or by mud buildings. We pass temples couched 
beneath dark, widespreading pines that twist and coil their 
ancient trunks and branches exactly as old Chinese artists 
painted them on scrolls of silk. The early morning wind, 
bitter cold, sweeps through the pines with a sound like the 
waves of the sea. I recall my childhood in the pine-clad moun- 
tains of western America. The sound of the wind through 
the pines filled me then with melancholy and with the 
thoughts of life and death. Now this returns to me in full 
force as we pass slowly beneath these ancient and beautiful 
trees that complain to the stars. The temple roofs, tiled and 
gargoyled, are dark outlines of beauty. 

We leave the village and march to the south. Men try to 
keep their hands warm by tucking them in their sleeves. The 
dawn comes and the clouds, hanging low over a distant range 
of mountains, rise and cover the sky. It is an ugly, cold, dreary 
morning. We are out of temper and the cold unfriendly morn- 
ing fits our mood. The manager of our group sent us an extra 
mule this morning. Li-po and Hsu Chuen are both almost 
disabled by injured and blistered feet. We were happy about 
the mule until some former Fourth Front Red Army men, 
quartered in our compound last night, simply took possession 
of the mule for their own use. If we needed an extra mule, 
they said, it was just too bad, and if we had extra luggage, 
we could just carry it on our own backs. One of my guards 
used me as an argument. I was a foreign friend, and I had an 
injured back and we needed the mule. Well, that was just 
too bad, said the Fourth Front Army men. And away went 
the mule! 

Two of our guards are Fourth Front Army men. One is 
obedient and humble, as if he had been in one of the ordinary 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

militarist armies. And one is often petulant, and out of humor 
at disagreeable things. Well, I have little to say, for I am often 
that myself. But we all can learn from my Kiangsi guard, Kuo 
Shen-hwa. He is from the former First Front Army, from the 
old Central Soviet district, and he made the long march. He 
was a squad commander, and then was trained as a body- 
guard. He is a Kiangsi peasant about twenty-five years of age; 
he is married and has a wife and child in Kiangsi. He is a 
remarkable man in many ways. His voice fits the open air, fits 
an army. Last night I saw him in action, and my admiration 
was great. We arrived at the village late, after a march of 
ninety li. We were expecting to march again at midnight, to 
cross the tracks before dawn. But we had heard the zooming 
of Japanese planes over us a number of times during the day. 
This was perhaps the. reason the peasants transporting our 
baggage decided to turn back. It was nine o'clock at night 
when they came to announce this unpleasant fact. They would 
not admit that they were scared, and they had no complaint 
about payment for their beasts and their labor. Their animals 
were tired, they said. Indeed that was true, but so were other 
animals. I was typing when they came in. Kuo Shen-hwa was 
the only one to hear them enter, and before they had stepped 
in the room he was out of bed and before them. When they 
told him why they had come, he did not curse them, nor was 
he even impatient. Instead, he told them that we were the 
Eighth Route Army of workers and peasants, marching to 
fight the Japanese. They themselves were peasants, and the 
people and the Eighth Route Army were one. They must 
stand together, work together, fight together. Were they dis- 
satisfied with payment? No, they were not. Did they not 
know that the Eighth Route Army is the army of the people? 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

Yes, they knew that. Kuo Shen-hwa took them into the court- 
yard and I heard their voices for about an hour. Then they 
left. It was one hour later that Kuo returned. He had arranged 
for new animals. The peasants were afraid to go farther. 

Then Kuo decided that he must first arrange for food for 
the middle of the next day, before he took his place by the 
side of the other sleepers. He went to the peasant woman 
whose house we occupied, bought flour from her, and asked 
her to make the flat, unleavened pancakes which we carry 
with us. Only when this was arranged and she was busy did 
he return. But before he went to rest, he placed a cup of cof- 
fee by the side of my typewriter. It was eleven before he went 
to sleep. All day long he had marched, and we expected to 
march again at midnight. Not one word of complaint came 
from him. In him there is no subservience, no unthinking 
obedience, no backwardness in political thought. He is also 
a trained military man, and the Mauser hanging from his hip 
is no decoration. He is one of those iron Communists who 
realize that, when necessary, a man must shoulder the whole 
burden of the struggle himself. I have watched him since he 
joined us at Sian, and I always feel that I have with me a rod 
of steel. Each day my admiration for him increases. When 
airplanes zoom in the sky, he turns slowly and watches to see 
in what direction they are going. No wave of fear or terror 
overcomes him. By my side, he calmly suggests that I ride my 
horse to such and such a place, or that I dismount and hide 
near-by. 

When out of patience with other men, I think of Kuo 
Sheh-hwa. 

As the day advances, the sun returns to warm the earth. We 
ride steadily upgrade, through rolling hills, some terraced al- 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

most to the peak. Flocks of black and white sheep, and many 
goats, range the hills. The road is a broad motor road, un- 
paved. And passing through this country we suddenly see one 
reason for the Japanese invasion. The mountains and hills are 
rilled with wealth. Often the road is cut entirely through thick 
veins of coal. In some places petroleum oozes from the earth. 
Whole regions are filled with iron. Below runs a small red 
stream. The entire bed of the stream, for miles and miles, is 
red with iron rust. The very water runs red with iron rust. 
Iron ore mountains lie right before our eyes. 

This angers us. For years Japanese imperialists were given 
free reign in China. They traveled the length and breadth 
of China, mapping the country, photographing, marking all 
avenues of invasion, finding the regions which they needed 
first to fulfill their plans of the conquest of Asia. Shansi 
Province, rich in coal, iron, and petroleum, was one of their 
main objectives. The only areas in all China which they could 
not map were those ruled by the Soviets and guarded by the 
Red Army. When the Red Army left Kiangsi, it was the 
Japanese Military Staff in Shanghai that demanded the right 
of "newspapermen" to make a tour of that Province. This 
"right" they got and they took with them their cameras. 
But the "newspapermen" were military spies, and what they 
had done in other areas of China, they then did in those por- 
tions of Kiangsi in which they traveled. 

Now the Japanese armies of invasion face this same army, 
its chief hate in China. It matters little to them that the name 
is changed. The national united front, forged with infinite 
patience and labor this the Japanese fear above all else. Their 
war in China, they tell the world, is against Communism. 
But the world knows that they would have begun this war 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

anyway. They wanted to force the Chinese Government to 
exterminate the Red Army and Communism so that their 
eventual war of conquest could be easier. Now the Eighth 
Route Army is all too small, and it has not had sufficient time 
to mobilize and arm the people. It works against time. It does 
not have sufficient arms. And some militarists still fear the 
mobilization and arming of the people. Yet nothing else can 
save China from ruthless rape by the Japanese. 

We reach the summit of the low rolling hills and begin to 
descend. Here the streams run clear and the coal and iron 
veins have ended. Here all the mountains and hills are ter- 
raced, and none are bare as on the northern side. The crops 
have been gathered, and the yellow ears of corn rise in high 
pillars before every farmhouse. The kaoliang heads have been 
cut and the stalks still stand in the field, their leaves a deep 
red. The millet has been cut to the earth and piled in walls 
behind the farmhouses. Peasant men and women turn primi- 
tive wooden machines that separate the chaff from the grain. 
A donkey or an ox, its eyes covered with cloth, walks patiently 
in a circle, turning a huge round granite stone that revolves 
on another huge round granite stone, grinding corn or wheat 
into flour. On the walls of their homes, or on the walls of 
temples the slogans are written large: 

"Improve the livelihood of the people!" 

"The people must unite with the army to fight the Japa- 
nese!" 

"Decrease taxes!" 

"Drive the Japanese from China!" 

"We must never become homeless slaves!" 

"Arm yourselves; fight until the Japanese are all driven 
from China!" 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

"Soldiers and people unite!" 

All of these slogans are the work of the Eighth Route Army. 
We are marching through some of the thirty districts of North 
Shansi in which the Eighth Route Army has been authorized 
to organize and arm the people. 

We go upgrade again for hours, then come out on a broad 
level mesa, or tableland. In all directions we can see the ter- 
raced hills and mountains of loess, the richest soil on earth. 
The broad tableland and the endless terraces beyond are all 
gray. The earth has been plowed and in a few places planted 
with some winter crop. Some of the mountaintops are covered 
with a thin layer of snow. A cold piercing wind comes from 
them. There are few or no trees. The roads run in deep de- 
pressions, worn by the treading of human feet for thousands 
of years. Here these depressions are a little less than a man's 
height. From my horse I can see far. At other places, the roads 
run so deep that the perpendicular walls of loess rise above 
my head on either side. Now and then we come out on the 
surface. Three times we hear the zoom of airplanes and we 
halt in the shadow of the walls. 

The marchers sing and laugh. The little hsiao kweys break 
from the line, run after each other into the fields, and roll and 
tumble like puppies. They march all day long, but they cover 
twice the distance of the ordinary marchers, by eternally chas- 
ing each other, racing here and there in play. 

I am becoming so thoroughly "airplane conscious" that even 
at night I can awake with a belief that the bugle warning of 
an airplane approach has sounded. Today, after three air 
warnings inside of an hour, I began to feel like the man who 
would stand when any song was sung. At one time my group 
was at the base of a long sloping hill. Before us the broad road 
[86] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

was filled with marchers. From the top of the hill suddenly 
we heard a terrific shouting and down the hill the marchers 
began running toward us. I halted my horse and looked about 
for a clump of trees, a shady wall of loess, or a deep road to 
which I could race. Then I saw it was no airplane warning. 
Instead, right down the hill toward us came a jackrabbit rac- 
ing for dear life, and right after him came all the marchers, 
including a dog. The jackrabbit had the better of the race, but 
as he came on, all the men about me took up the chase. We 
were indeed marching to the front against the Japanese, but 
just at this moment everyone near enough was chasing a 
jackrabbit. The little animal turned down a side road, and 
only the dog continued the chase. 

When Li-po and Hsu Chuen came up, we laughed as I 
told them the story. But my guards did not laugh. Our serious- 
minded Kuo Shen-hwa remarked that he wanted to catch the 
rabbit for a fine supper. Then amusement left me. All of my 
guards have known days of starvation and weeks and months 
of half-starvation. All members of this army that made the 
historic long march of twenty thousand li have known such 
hunger that they ate horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, and, at times, 
rats. And often they did not have anything at all. When they 
finally left the mountain ranges of eternal snow and emerged 
into Kansu, tens of thousands of them were ragged, ema- 
ciated skeletons who lay down to rest by the roadside at night, 
crowded close together to keep warm, coughing their lungs 
out. Still they marched and fought, this army of the Chinese 
workers and peasants, and their "extermination" was the first 
demand of the Japanese and other imperialists. But now, rested 
and relatively well-fed and clothed, they march and fight the 
army of invasion. "The Red Army gives me a headache," a 

[87] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Japanese officer's diary begins. That officer is now dead. He 
will have a headache no longer. 

We approached the Chentai railway and watched the air- 
plane that patrols its entire length, back and forth. From some 
distant place we heard bombing. We halted for a rest at a 
large walled town with a beautiful Buddhist temple. Ancient 
pines bend lovingly over the colored tiled roofs. Here, as in 
other places, there are Partisans. But all the Partisans from this 
town have gone to the front. 

We marched on to spend the night in a half -deserted town, 
preparing to cross the railway this night. The peasant who 
gave my group a room moved about smiling and joyous. He 
refused money for a squash and some garlic, and he brought 
us two big heads of cabbage. We refused the food unless he 
accepted payment. Reluctantly he finally took our money. But 
he came in to keep the fire burning so our guards could cook. 
They bought some chickens and have been cheerfully slaugh- 
tering and plucking them. Kang Keh-chin told us later that 
the news reached her that I had arisen from my bed, taken 
off my coat, and cleaned and cut up the chickens. 

"Big war news," Li-po remarked. 

We prepare to march after midnight. 



November i, 

We are up at two and marching at three under the stars. 

On the horizon the slender edge of the moon watches us. The 

wind is bitterly cold. The earth is frozen and a thick, white 

layer of frost lies on the ground and coats every grass blade. 

We finally reached the towering serrated walls of a big 

town which lay as silent as the dead. Skirting it, we entered 

the streets outside. This part of the town was entirely deserted 

[88] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

save for two soldiers who stood by a lantern before a building. 
The streets seemed endless and from afar we heard the whistle 
of a train. The tracks were not far away. Yet we marched and 
marched. Then we met the advance units of our people re- 
turning in haste. They had missed the way, could not cross 
the railway. There was no road. We turned and went back 
with them over the same streets. But no one knew where we 
were going. Some of us halted and asked the soldiers with 
the lanterns. They told us a long column of our army had 
passed this very road two hours before. So we turned once 
more and went back. Then we found the little white strips 
of paper, each with an arrow and cross, placed at streets or 
crossroads to show us the way. We followed these and after 
a time came to the railway, a single-track, narrow-gauge line. 

It was dawn. We anxiously watched the sky, our ears at- 
tuned to every sound. We marched along the railway in two 
lines for fully forty minutes, sometimes running, sometimes 
walking, trying to reach another station before the Japanese 
planes found us. Down the track we heard the whistle of an 
engine. At last we neared a station. In the middle of the track 
lay a mangled corpse. Pools of blood lay along the railway ties 
for some distance. The reed hat of a peasant lay near-by. The 
man had run a long way before death overtook him. A little 
farther on we came to two more mangled corpses, one of them 
broken to pieces like a stuffed doll. The back was broken and 
the legs bent flat up the back. We learned that the Japanese 
airplanes regularly kill Chinese by machine-gun fire. One of 
the corpses had been run over, in addition, by the railway 
engine racing before an attacking Japanese plane. 

We began to pass Chinese troops, a few of them wounded, 
retreating from the front. Some of them were running. We 

[89] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

reached the station, passing cars in which we could see a few 
men in uniform. The railway workers in the station ahead 
seemed to be standing by their guns, for the engine worked 
busily with a few cars. The Japanese have not yet bombed 
the station; they intend to take it and use it. 

Six-thirty We are now marching rapidlv o the south and 
southeast, down through the cliffs of k . Where are the 
Japanese planes? It is light and still they have not come. The 
whole thing shows that there are no traitors in our ranks, and 
that the people have not betrayed us. 

We have marched about forty minutes, and the tail end of 
our column must still be marching along the railway line, 
when we hear the roar of approaching planes. We take to 
cover. Within the space of a minute, the broad white roads, so 
easily seen from the air, are completely deserted. We hide under 
trees, stacks of hay, shocks of wheat and kaoliang, and in the 
shadows of loess banks. We can see two Japanese planes 
patrolling the length of the railway. They have seen none of 
our marchers. When they have gone on, we march again, more 
rapidly. In a few minutes we hide again as they make their 
return trip. Then we are on the road once more. So it goes 
the entire morning, and before long we stop hiding. The high 
loess walls, with the road running deep between them, pro- 
tect us. We can watch the planes from afar as they patrol the 
line. Sometimes a plane gets the idea of coming in our direc- 
tion. Then our pack animals, camouflaged with cornstalks, 
grass and leaves, halt. I ride my pony to a clump of pines and 
from their shelter watch the raiders. 

Once on the road again, we talk of our work, we consult 
our maps and find the place where our headquarters will 
soon be located. We try to buy candles in all villages or towns 

[90] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

through which we pass. There are none. In these places the 
people use a light made from a wick placed in a small bowl 
of oil. What a problem! Chu Teh told us that soon we must 
work and fight at night and sleep through the day. We asked 
the manager of our unit if he could manage candles, but he 
said he could not. He would give us an extra large bowl filled 
with oil. We learned that some distance from here is a district 
town which might have candles. Tomorrow two of our guards 
can ride there and bring some back. 

We approach the village where we will remain for the rest 
of this day and all day tomorrow. One of my guards, riding 
a mule by my side, watches the approach of a Japanese air- 
plane. It comes straight toward us. We make a dash for the 
village and toward a huge tree in the center of a square. The 
plane zooms over and is gone. 

Here the entire headquarters is housed for two nights and 
a day. My two companions and three guards and I are given 
a room in the great, spreading building of a former official 
under the Manchu Dynasty. The men take the J(ang along 
one side of the room and my camp bed is put up at the other. 
The building is very beautiful, with decorated tile roofs, a 
series of courtyards surrounded by latticed windows, and 
great spreading green plants in the center of the court. Our 
room is furnished with heavy mahogany cupboards that reach 
halfway to the high ceiling; there are long, narrow, carved 
tables down the length of the room, and chests, tables, chairs 
and stools. This furniture is decorated with heavy brass hinges 
and locks, and the tables are richly carved. Around the three 
sides of the 1(ang, the walls are lacquered, first with a broad 
strip of Chinese red with black decorations, then with a strip 
of green with designs delicately planned, then with a border 

[91] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

scroll, then with a broad black border with green designs. 
Old Chinese paintings, on scrolls, hang on the walls. 

We study the room with interest. The owner of this house 
was a big landlord and money-lender, and here in this room 
is the paraphernalia of such a family. Set within a framework, 
and suspended from the upper beam, is a pair of scales, clearly 
for weighing money. In the drawers of the framework is an 
abacus a Chinese counting board. In a leather casket are big 
brown beans, all apparently selected for their identical weights. 

On the high cupboards, and in a little room behind them, 
are all the measuring baskets and round boxes used by land- 
lords when measuring the produce of their peasants. Like all 
such rich buildings, the floor is of great blocks of stone care- 
fully polished. Beyond our courtyard are courtyards for storing 
grain and other foodstuffs, and one big yard with stables for 
animals. 

We ask each other what all of this cost the Chinese peasant. 
Certainly a lot. The present descendants of the Manchu offi- 
cial have run away, fearing the Japanese. Some distant poor 
relatives have remained behind caring for the place. But the 
women, girls, and children of these poor people have also 
run away, as have most of the townspeople. 

Nine P. M. We are witnessing a remarkable thing in this 
town. Large numbers of the people who had fled from this 
and near-by villages have come streaming back. News spreads 
like wildfire amongst the people that the Eighth Route Army 
has come. And the people picked up their bundles, or loaded 
their donkeys, and returned to their homes. Tonight a delega- 
tion of townspeople went to our military headquarters and 
thanked them for coming. They asked them to remain to 
protect the people. And tonight, just as I write this, the wife 

[92] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

of one of the caretakers of this building came, with her chil- 
dren clustered about her, bringing our unit a bowl of brown 
rolls stuffed with mashed brown beans. This she begged us to 
take, and told us that we are welcome. Three of her little 
children stood about her, gripping her black trousers. She 
hopes we will remain. Would we like chickens? No, she re- 
fuses all payment, but would like to present our party with a 
chicken. We thank her and refuse. If we take chickens, we 
will pay for them. She would really like to give them, but we 
refuse, thanking her sincerely. My guards go with her outside 
and argue her into taking thirty cents. She takes it and then 
returns ten cents. 

A man of the Political Department talked with us tonight. 
"We will organize these people," he said, "and train the men 
in Partisan tactics. We have asked General Yen Hsi-shan to 
send new rifles at once. We will arm the people so they can 
protect themselves and fight the Japanese. We started work 
here today. Tomorrow the Political Department will have 
workers in every village in this region. But we have done 
something more," he said. "We have sent men to the various 
Shansi and Szechwan troops and to the troops of General 
Sung Lien-chung. Our speakers will talk to the troops and 
work among them. The first and most urgent work will be to 
talk to them about the protection of the people. There must be 
no looting and no woman or girl must fear a man in uniform, 
but must, instead, look to him as her protector. Farther to the 
east, the Eighth Route Army units have already sent men to 
the various troops in that region." 

The Japanese have advanced along the Chentai railway to 
the station of Yangchien, not very far from our headquarters. 
Some Chinese troops have been defeated. General Hwang 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Sh'aohsung is commanding the Chinese armies still fighting 
there. He is said to be an able commander. With the arrival 
of strong forces from the Eighth Route Army, it is hoped to 
break the advance of the enemy and put new courage and 
hope in the Chinese troops still fighting in that section, re- 
fusing to retreat. 

November 2, 7957 

Someone unearthed eight packages of fine big candles in 
this village and brought them to me! I bought the lot and we 
now have enough candles for one month. The price is less 
than we had to pay even in Sian. 
We remain here for this day and everyone is at work. 
Below Yangchien on the Chentai line, a battle is going on. 
It started early this morning at daybreak and we will not 
know the results until it is over. The battlefield is not far 
from here, and all day long Japanese bombers have scouted 
all over the country, looking for possible re-enforcements to the 
Chinese troops. These bombers have roared over this village 
all day long. I went for a short walk and we took shelter in 
doorways three times within half an hour. We went to the 
outskirts of the village and there met two groups of villagers 
returning home. They had fled a week ago, carrying all they 
could. They heard the Eighth Route Army had come here, 
and they started home at once; they walked one hundred li 
yesterday and today. All the adults carried padded quilts and 
small bundles on their backs. They hid with us in the door- 
ways while Japanese planes roared above us. 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

November 

Yesterday's battle ended with the Chinese troops retreating 
from their positions at Yangchiian to Chang Chin Chen 
farther west on the Chentai railway. The chief concentration 
of the Japanese is now at Pintingchow, about halfway from 
Niangtzekwan to Taiyiian. 

I talked with Chu Teh. He was cheerful, perfectly calm. 
The defeat of the Chinese troops (not the Eighth Route) yes- 
terday did not mean much, he said. "If the Japanese want to 
march on toward Taiyiian, let them," he said. "We will then 
cut off their rear, destroy all their communications, split them 
up in small groups and destroy them. The Chinese forces are 
much larger than the Japanese and we can surround them on 
all sides. The Chinese troops are now concentrated at Show- 



Day before yesterday we crossed the railway tracks at 
Showyang. Yesterday, throughout the day, six Japanese bomb- 
ers simply "scraped the skies," so to speak, in search of the 
newly arrived Eighth Route Army. They know we have 
come, but they do not know where we are. Already two of 
the units of the army have attacked their flanks at Yangchiian, 
while Liu Peh-cheng, commanding another force down on 
the Shansi-Hopei border, has destroyed the Chentai railway 
for a long distance. It will take the Japanese a long time to 
repair it, and then it will be cut again either there or in a 
dozen other places. We have reports that the Japanese troops 
are very tired. That means little. They are obedient soldiers, 
and they will march on. Now, with the Eighth Route Army 
on both sides of the Chentai railway in their rear, they will 
have to march on. They dare not retreat. The Eighth Route 
Army is at work with its famous flanking and rear attacks. 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

The Japanese are moving in Shansi Province on this eastern 
front from three different directions now: along the railway, 
which is now cut and where the Eighth Route is harassing 
their flanks and rear; from Pmtingchow they have sent out 
four regiments to the southwest; and they have sent two full 
regiments about six thousand men along a road some fifty 
li south of the railway on the border, to Yangchiian. So they 
are driving into the province by the roads also. 

At Tungyingtow, a strategic mountain near Yangchuan, 
the Eighth Route Army commander, Chen Ken, commands a 
force of strong troops, and has just built defenses. An Eighth 
Route unit arrived at the Matahng mountain range south 
of Pintingchow day before yesterday and met the four regi- 
ments of enemy troops coming from that direction. The bat- 
tle continued all day yesterday, and our forces killed about 
one thousand of the enemy and captured supplies. 

Day before yesterday the Eighth Route Army, and also the 
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, issued 
separate manifestos to the Japanese soldiers, calling upon them 
to cease the robber war they are waging at the commands of 
their militarists who are enemies of both the Chinese and 
Japanese people. Chinese fliers from the Central Government, 
of whom there are a few in this region, eagerly took to the air 
and dropped the manifestos over the Japanese lines. 

Well, the Japanese know at last that the Eighth Route Army 
is in this region. They felt the effects yesterday. They know 
that the Eighth Route is not only here on the south of the 
railway line, but that it is on the northern side also, and is 
closing in on their rear with a pincer movement. They know 
it by the cutting of the railway in their rear, and they know 
it because one thousand of them lie dead after yesterday's bat- 

[96] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

tie. They know it because some of the Chinese troops have 
met them in merciless warfare and have not retreated. They 
know it from the two manifestos. 

On the northern front were the Japanese glad! They were 
so happy that the Eighth Route Army had left the northern 
front for the eastern front so they thought that they tried 
to take supplies down to their mam concentration point at 
Sinkow, where Shansi and Central Government troops are 
holding back the main Japanese forces, bombarding them 
each day. The enemy thought they could at last send shells 
and ammunition through to Sinkow. So they sent down 
seventy to eighty military trucks, heavily laden with shells 
and other ammunition, and also supplies. Two hundred of 
their soldiers rode on the trucks, bowling along like gentle- 
men. A unit of Ho Lung's troops, helped by peasant Partisans, 
fell upon the trucks like a few tons o brick. They stopped 
six of them with hand grenades, destroyed ten in the fighting, 
and stopped the rest of them by destroying the roads. The 
two hundred Japanese soldiers were all killed. Among them 
was a company officer and his deputy. The Chinese forces got 
large quantities of arms and ammunition, including two light 
machine guns, rifles, pistols, and many other supplies. The 
Japanese tried advancing along another route. An army Par- 
tisan group mined the road and destroyed two enemy trucks 
on November 2nd. 

The town of Whenyuan, which has changed hands a num- 
ber of times, has been taken back by the Eighth Route Army 
once more. That is on the northern front, outside the Great 
Wall. It was recaptured from the Japanese on November ist, 
and a number of enemy soldiers were killed. 

The Chinese Central Government forces still hold the Jap- 

[97] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

anese at Sinkow. There is no change in the situation there. 
The enemy hopes to break through the Eighth Route forces 
now holding the north, and get reenforcements to their troops 
at Sinkow so they can advance to Taiyiian. 

We are now at a small village south of the railway. Last 
night we were told to be ready to march at midnight to this 
place. We prepared. But the manager of our group is so de- 
termined to get at the Japanese, it seems, that he awoke us 
at ten, just three hours after we had gone to bed. I argued 
that it was not yet twelve, but he argued that my watch was 
wrong, so we got up and prepared. By eleven o'clock we were 
ready to march. Headquarters had not even arisen! One hour 
later the bugle call awoke them, and later their breakfast bugle 
call sounded, and then later still the bugle to prepare to march. 
It was two o'clock when the bugle call for marching sounded. 
And the last hour we spent standing amongst the animals and 
lines of men on a road beyond the village. There was a hell of 
a noise, as usual, with the braying of donkeys and mules, the 
neighing and stamping of horses, and the shouts of men, and 
singing. But when we began to march, silence fell upon us, 
and all we could hear was the clank of hoofs on the stony and 
treacherous mountain paths. The little hsiao tyveys, given to 
all kinds of laughter and pranks, whispered lest the Japanese, 
some three to four miles away, hear them! No one talked 
aloud. The order came to use no flashlights. We marched by 
the faint light of the stars. I watched the great dipper over my 
left shoulder, and the polar star below it. Sometimes it was 
directly to my left, sometimes a bit behind me. As we ad- 
vanced, our eyes became used to the darkness. 

The paths down which we went were so terrible that I 
dared not ride. So with my two guards on either side of me, I 

[98] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

went down and up, down into stony river beds through which 
icy water tumbled, then up terrible stony paths again, and 
down again. And so through the whole night. Dark moun- 
tains loomed on either side. Now and then there was the brief 
flare of a flashlight, as the advance guard searched for the right 
path. We began to straggle in units after a few hours. Then 
we watched the roadside for the bits of paper left to guide us. 
The bits of paper often gave us a figure 30, 20, or 10 telling 
how many more li we had to march. There were few or no 
bridges over the broad icy rivers, and nearly everyone had wet 
feet. But the men crossed without complaint and marched on 
and on. When the dawn came, many were limping and all 
were weary. But they went on and I heard snatches of song. 
I was able to ride along the good stretches of road and across 
the rivers. I at least kept my feet dry. Later we saw that the 
skin of Li-po's feet was split open down to the raw flesh, along 
the soles. But he has not complained. He has walked more 
slowly at times, and with a faraway look has replied to my 
questions, "It does not matter." 

In the darkness I lost track of my horse a number of times. 
But he found me. Two or three times I heard the low rumble 
that is a horse's talk of satisfaction, and then felt his nose nudg- 
ing me. I wanted to throw my arms around his neck each time. 
But when the dawn came, and I rode along level roads, I 
cursed him soundly. For he tried to tear up the earth, "run- 
ning after the women/' so to speak. There is in our column a 
little bay mare, jealously chaperoned by a boy about eighteen 
years of age. For this lady my Yunnan has an affection. Her 
reply to his indelicate advances was to lift her hind legs and 
strike out at him in a way that belied her meek appearance. 
But she carried a pack and it fell off. My Yunnan responded 

[99] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

to her attack by whirling around and trying to kick the stuff- 
ings out of her. It did not matter that I was on his back. Not 
in the least! And now, that chaperoning guardian of the little 
mare carries a club just for use against my Yunnan. I have 
almost fallen asleep at times, but I am brought back to full 
consciousness by the glaring eyes and ferocious face of that lad 
coming toward my pony. Realizing that we were in for an- 
other fight, I turned around and sought a more secure posi- 
tion in the column. 

There is an old Hindu book which, if I remember correctly, 
is something like the Karma Yoga. It is a book telling of the 
ways and means of what we may call the "man-woman busi- 
ness." One passage in that book says it is bad luck for a couple 
to become amorous at a crossroads. Bad luck, indeed! It is 
most dangerous. I thought of this book today. 

It was nearing nine in the morning when a small straggling 
group of us picked our way across a river bed filled with stones 
that someone seems to have sharpened to knife-like edges. 
Before us lay the village which was to be our headquarters for 
a day. Then, from the east, coming up the valley around a 
mountain, we saw a long column of slow-moving soldiers. 
They moved wearily, as if they had marched all night. We 
halted and watched and I took some pictures. This was the 
Third Army, moving from a position where the Chinese 
troops had been defeated, to the west, where they are to be 
reorganized to fight again. They had no animals with them, 
and carried all their arms and ammunition. As they passed, 
voices amongst them cried out. Once we heard, "We have no 
overcoats! We have no overcoats!" There were a few people 
in the village ahead of us watching from a stone wall. The 
weary soldiers seemed to be crying their complaints to the 
[100] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

morning air, and to no one in particular. Then their com- 
mander gave an order, and it was shouted down the line from 
man to man, "Order to rest! Order to rest!" They marched 
on. The resting place had not yet come. Then came the strange 
cries again, "We are tired! We are tired!" 

This is one of the best armies of the Central Government, I 
am told. They are good fighters. They carried no packs on 
their backs, they had no overcoats. I wondered how they 
sleep, how they keep warm. When they saw a foreign face 
their cries ceased and in astonishment they gazed at me, and 
some of them smiled and halted to have their pictures taken. 

We came into a half-deserted village and found two empty 
rooms in the home of what appears to be a middle-class peas- 
ant. Since three doors of the mud and stone buildings were 
locked with iron Chinese locks and chains, we went into the 
two empty ones and occupied them. Later we found one peas- 
ant who lives in one of the padlocked rooms. His wife and 
daughter have fled with the other women to the mountains. 
He is a poor peasant, as are the other families that live in the 
other rooms. The men talked curiously with us. We tried to 
get them to bring their women back, but they are afraid of 
armies. It will take another day or two for the Political De- 
partment of headquarters to convince them that the Eighth 
Route Army is the protector of the people. The women will be 
returning soon, just as they have at other places. And here we 
will leave men to organize and arm the people into Partisans, 
just as we do everywhere. We left two armed men in the vil- 
lage where we spent the two nights before this. This was the 
request of the people, who sent a delegation to our military 
headquarters. 

We leave here tomorrow morning for a new position. 

[101] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

I wonder at the Chinese people. Our only food is millet or 
rice, and one vegetable. Today we had rice and turnips. Some- 
times it is squash or potatoes. And on this we live. There is no 
fat, no sugar, and for days no meat at all. I have a little money 
left which I borrowed from a friend to prepare for this march.' 
So I am able to buy an occasional chicken. My whole group of 
six eat it. This gives us a little protein and a tiny bit of fat. 
The guards' shoes are nearly worn out and they have no 
others. Nor can we buy anything. There is absolutely nothing 
to buy here. This region seems very, very poor. They have 
millet, kaoliang, and squash, and a few potatoes about as 
large as walnuts. Even the chickens are very scarce and very 
thin. We bought one today but it had no fat at all. We bought 
a squash from the poor peasant. But there are many armies in 
this region, and I wonder what the people will live on during 
the winter. We buy everything we take, but much of our rice 
is transported on donkeys and mules with us. It is many days' 
march over terrible roads to Taiyiian and the problem of feed- 
ing and clothing an army during the winter months, in this 
region, is almost unbelievably difficult. There are no motor 
roads and no motor trucks. It is almost impbssible to find 
any man in these villages who has enough money to change 
one Chinese dollar. We could not change a dollar to buy one 
chicken, but had to buy another chicken this afternoon, a 
squash, and some corn for my horse and mule. For I am using 
the little money I have left to keep my horse and mule in 
good condition. If either dies, I do not know what I shall do. 
For our future marching is very hard. I shall have to walk 
much of the time also. 

Today my two companions and I stripped our luggage 
down to the barest essentials. We each have the one suit we 

[102] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

wear, our winter coats, an extra pair of socks or so, and we 
are rich in having one extra pair of shoes each which we 
bought in Sian. My luggage consists almost entirely of my 
typewriter, my typewriting paper, carbon paper, my camera, 
films and typing ribbons. I even had to give up my first-aid 
medicine. My camp bed I gave to the peasant here. It was a 
great thing for me. I could sleep alone, and it freed me from 
the near-certainty of getting lice. The J(angs oi the poor peas- 
ants often have lice in them. This morning, when we arrived 
here, I watched some of our armed forces sitting in doorways, 
stripped to the waist, picking lice out of their coats. They 
already have them. Yet up to now they have been free of them. 
Lice in North China in winter mean typhus. Lice in wartime 
are always a typhus danger. For the North Chinese men 
typhus does not generally mean death. They are somewhat 
immune to it. But our army is mostly of southern men, and I 
fear they are in the same danger as foreigners from typhus 
and that means death in a large proportion of the cases. We 
cannot afford anti-typhus vaccine. It costs $9.00 for one injec- 
tion series. I have not received injections either. I tried it a 
year ago and nearly died of heart failure. 

But still I cannot take my camp bed and must sleep on the 
J(angs. From now on I have one donkey and my little mule, 
to carry everything for my party of six. My luggage is the 
heaviest. It is typewriting and camera supplies. In these re- 
gions we cannot buy any kind of paper whatever. Whatever 
we intend to use we must carry with us. 

Later: Today the two other peasants who live in the locked 
rooms returned. One was a very poor man. He came into our 
room and asked politely and humbly for something. We could 
not understand his dialect at all. Not one of us could under- 

[103] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

stand. Finally he dared point at something and we saw it was 
an old rope hanging on an inside door. He wanted his rope 
but he had been afraid to come and take it, or to ask for it by 
pointing. For our guards are armed men! And he has had ex- 
perience with armed men! We laughed and gave him his rope. 
On his head was a bloody cut, as if he had fallen. I disinfected 
it with iodine and then he said he would of course pay. He 
made a gesture of payment and we assured him that we did 
not want payment. He watched us with suspicion this 
strange army that gave back a man's rope or treated his in- 
jury free. Ten minutes later he came back and asked us to 
treat his injured foot. It was useless. His foot is worn to the 
flesh through a hole in his old cloth shoes. He needs a new 
pair of shoes. And we have none even for ourselves. One of 
my guards took him to our doctor who bound up his foot and 
told him to put a patch over his old ragged shoe. 

The peasant men have returned but not yet the women 
and girls. What problems China has! It seems that all the 
problems of thousands of years rest upon the shoulders of the 
people. The Chinese armies are fighting for the first and most 
essential of all necessities national liberation. But that is only 
the beginning, and even the prerequisites for the victory of the 
Chinese armies is not yet fulfilled that is, the adoption of 
such democratic social, economic and political measures that 
the masses of the people really feel that they have something 
to fight for, something to die for if necessary, but, above all, 
something to live for. Again and again as we go through the 
country, I am deeply, irrevocably convinced that the principles 
embodied in the heart of the Eighth Route Army are the 
principles that will guide and save China, that will give the 
greatest of impulses to the liberation of all subjected Asiatic 
[104] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

nations, and bring to life a new human society. This convic- 
tion in my own mind and heart gives me the greatest peace 
that I have ever known. 



November 4, 

Just as I sent off my diary notes for today, Chu Teh came in 
to see us. He was much worried and his usual air of enthu- 
siasm was gone. The Japanese have occupied Showyang, one 
of the main towns on the Chentai railway leading to Taiyiian, 
he told us. They finally occupied it yesterday morning while 
we were marching in this direction. We crossed the railway 
tracks at that station. It is but one hundred and eighty li from 
Taiyiian. The next strategic point is Yiitze, which connects 
with the Tungpu railway the single track railway that runs 
the length of Shansi Province from north to south. The 
Szechwan troops and the other Central Government troops 
at Showyang and at other points in this region where we are, 
seemed to have retreated without determined fighting. In this 
whole region now, it seems, no Chinese troops except the 
Eighth Route Army are fighting. Some of the defeated troops 
have been reassembled and reorganized, and have marched on 
to Yiitze to meet the Japanese there. Chu Teh had one hope 
that within four or five days, reinforcements from Tang 
En-po's i3th Army, and from Liu Hsiang's Szechwan Army, 
would arrive. He expects seven Szechwan divisions to reen- 
force us in this region. Well, Tang En-po's troops can fight. 
They fought well at Nankow Pass, though with mistaken 
tactics. As for General Liu Hsiang's troops they are not so 
good. They fought the Red Array two years ago, and the Red 
Army simply finished whole divisions of them. Two Sze- 
chwan generals, who knew Chu Teh years ago when he was a 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

brigade commander in the Yunnan Army, visited him. Chu 
Teh takes pride and comfort in the fact that the arrival of the 
Eighth Route Army, with a number of victories behind it, 
has given new hope and courage to the other Chinese armies 
here. 

But Chu was worried and was given to silence because of 
another development; the Japanese have sent nine thousand 
men of their 20th Division southwest from Pintingchow on 
the Chentai railway, and they have arrived within thirty li 
(ten miles) of our headquarters. To stop them the Eighth 
Route Army has only about one thousand men in that sector. 
Lin Piao is field commander, and Chen Kwang is command- 
ing on the battlefield. Since we arrived here, the Eighth Route 
Army has given up positional warfare such as Liu Peh-cheng's 
troops were fighting under General Yen Hsi-shan's orders. 
They now fight with the tactics for which they are famous 
guerrilla warfare on a broad, organized scale. Fighting in this 
region just north of us began this afternoon. We do not yet 
know what the result will be. 

Anyway, our headquarters is ready to move at dawn to- 
morrow morning. But the people who fled from here have not 
all returned. Only some of the men have come back, and 
alone, to see if they dare bring their families. The women, 
and the donkeys and mules on which they, their children and 
few household goods were transported, have not yet returned. 
So we do not have enough animals to transport our food and 
luggage- The whole Political Department has just five don- 
keys, and they must carry our rice, brought with us from the 
northern part of the province. We do not know how we shall 
move. The peasant who lives in this compound with us has 
agreed to help carry the goods of our group, and to get some 
[106] 




TV/2, commander in chief of the Eighth Route Army, and 
his wije, Kang Keh-chm. Chu Teh has just put on the uniform 
of the Central Government armies, while Kang Keh-chin still 
wears the uniform of the Red Army 




Eighth Route Army men in battle. The dead bodies, clad in 
overcoats, are those of Japanese. 




A line of soldiers, while on the march, passes, on the crest of a 
hill, one of the rarest sights in north Shansi, a tree. 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

of his friends to help. But that does not solve the problem. 
The headman of the village went out into the hills and other 
villages to call back the people and their donkeys. But when 
they heard that we were moving, they absolutely refused to 
listen to him at all Had we remained, they would have re- 
turned. But we want to hire their donkeys to move with, and 
so they stay where they are! The headman wept when he told 
us this. Tomorrow morning we will all go like burdened ani- 
mals ourselves, and some of our things must be left behind. 

We can always talk with Chu Teh like a close friend. We 
can get information and we can gossip, though there is no 
time or inclination for any of us to gossip these days. Today 
his worries bore heavily upon him. Now and then, as we 
talked, we stopped to listen to the roar of the big Japanese 
guns to the northeast of us. And after Chu was gone we sat 
for a long time listening to those guns and now and then to 
the distant hammering of machine guns. The Japanese out- 
number the Eighth Route Army nine to one over there, and 
their equipment is a hundred to one. We might suffer a de- 
feat. The other units of the Eighth Route Army are fighting 
in other places, Liu Peh-cheng's army farther east. The battle 
now going on to the north and northeast of us is commanded 
by Lin Piao, one of the most brilliant of young Chinese mili- 
tary tacticians. He commands the famous First Front Army 
of the Workers and Peasants Red Army from Kiangsi. This 
is now one unit of the Eighth Route Army. It is made up al- 
most entirely of Kiangsi workers and peasants. Ho Lung's 
Second Front Army, another unit of the newly named force^ 
is in North Shansi, in the rear of the enemy rather between 
two enemy lines. Liu Peh-cheng, formerly chief of staff to the 
Red Army, now commands the former Fourth Front Army, 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

once known as the Fourth Red Army Corps commanded by 
Hsu Hsiang-ch'ien. Hsu is now vice-commander. Lin Piao's 
forces and Liu Peh-cheng's forces are now on both sides of 
the Chentai railway north and east of us, and one small unit 
of Lin Piao's men are fighting the Japanese just over the hills. 
Chen Kwang, commanding on the battlefield, is a poor peas- 
ant from South Hunan Province, who was a peasant Partisan 
and then became one of the most dogged commanders of the 
Red Army. 

Li-po and I left Chu Teh and went to visit some other de- 
partments. We found the "Enemy Department" of the Politi- 
cal Department studying Japanese documents. These men all 
speak Japanese, some being students returned from Japan; 
one is Tsai Chen, a Chinese from Formosa. They take charge 
of all captured enemy documents, diaries, and other material; 
they have charge of enemy captives, and they conduct propa- 
ganda among the enemy troops. The Communist Party and 
the Eighth Route Army have just issued two manifestos to 
the Japanese troops. This action was taken after they read the 
diaries of Japanese captives and the Japanese dead, in the 
pockets of many of whom they found a long manifesto from 
the Japanese Communist Party calling upon the Japanese 
troops to refuse to fight the Chinese. Their real enemies, read 
the manifesto, are the Japanese militarists. Tsai Chen gave us 
a copy of the manifesto of the Eighth Route Army. It reads: 

"Dear Japanese Soldiers and Officers: 

Let us shout so that all of you may hear us: 

i- Against this imperialist war of invasion. 

2. Never be deceived by the capitalists, landlords, militarists 

and Fascists, nor be their victims. 
[108] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

3. Your parents and wives weep for you, hoping you will 
live. Struggle to return to your homes. 

4. Japanese capitalists, landlords, militarists and Fascists are 
enemies of both the Japanese and the Chinese working 
people. 

5. The Japanese workers and the whole Chinese nation must 
unite against this war. 

6. The Chinese Eighth Route Army is the weapon o the 
democratic people of the whole world. 

7. The Chinese Eighth Route Army is the fighting com- 
rade of the Japanese toiling people. 

8. The Chinese Eighth Route Army does not kill captives 
but, instead, is very kind to them. 

9. Japanese soldiers, your fight for the peace of the world 
must be carried on jointly with the Chinese Army. 

10. Do not kill your own brothers, Chinese workers and 
peasants. 

11. Turn your rifles toward your own militarists and Fascists. 

12. Fight for a democratic Japan. 

13. Build up the Japanese People's Front. 

14. The workers of all countries and of the oppressed nations 
must unite. 

15. Long live the workers of Japan, and the Chinese nation. 

Political Department of the 
Chinese Eighth Route Army." 

After talking with the Enemy Department, Li-po and I 
went into the streets of this small town, which is little more 
than a village. Already the walls of the houses were covered 
with slogans and with new propaganda posters. There were 
the illustrated black and white posters that tell the story, in 

[109] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

pictures and a few simple words, of the Japanese invasion of 
Manchuria and North China south of the Great Wall. There 
was the proclamation to the people signed by Chu Teh and 
Peng Teh-hwei which we saw first in the little temple in 
North Shansi. Along the length of one building were ten big 
posters, with simple explanations and with black and white 
illustrations. These were the ten united front principles of the 
Communist Party of China in pictures. These principles are 
to be found explained in every form everywhere now. They 
are: (i) war on Japan and the recovery of all lost territory; 

(2) the confiscation of Japanese property in China and its use 
for national defense; the confiscation of all property of traitors 
and its use to support the refugees and other destitute people; 

(3) improvement of the livelihood of the people through ef- 
forts to prevent famines and floods; (4) removal of all un- 
necessary and exorbitant taxes, reorganization of the finances 
of the country, and development of trade and industry; (5) 
increase in wages and improvement of the living conditions 
of the workers, peasants and students; (6) universal, free and 
compulsory education; (7) work for the unemployed; (8) 
further adoption of democratic principles in government and 
release of all political prisoners; (9) equality of all races in 
China and the defense of the lives and property of Chinese 
people living abroad; (10) the unity of all opponents of Jap- 
anese imperialism the people of Korea, Formosa, and the 
Japanese common people, cooperation with all nations who 
sympathize with China, and friendship with all that remain 
neutral in this war. 

Passing on down the darkening streets, we saw people 
standing before a speaker and we heard a voice discussing 
something carefully and patiently, saying often to the crowd, 
[no] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

"Do you understand?" The crowd would answer, "We under- 
stand." Going near, we saw that the crowd consisted of about 
thirty or more of our army, without arms, and the speaker 
was their platoon commander. One of the thousands of prob- 
lems of China was pictured before us. The commander was 
telling his men that he knew that they and others had had no 
food that day. Each department must carry its own food; some 
departments now do not have enough, and many men have 
not eaten. We have marched far and we have used up much 
of the rice and millet we brought along. Now we cannot buy 
food, and we cannot hire enough animals to transport what 
we have. We have sent men far and wide to buy millet, but 
they have not returned. The men of the Eighth Route Army 
must not go to the headman of the village and ask him for 
food. The village head can help us only in big things con- 
cerned with our general plan of defense. Our own problems 
we must solve alone. 

The speaker then took up another matter. The men knew, 
he said, of the three main rules and the eight minor rules of 
the Eighth Route Army. The eight minor rules include a 
number which every man must observe in all villages. They 
must keep the rooms clean, and leave them clean when they 
depart. If they sleep on a door, or on straw, these must be 
returned. All things borrowed must be returned, and if lost 
or broken must be reported so the company can pay for them. 
No woman or girl may be molested, and nothing may be 
stolen or taken from the people. Men must use the toilets of 
the people (which are square holes in the ground with boards 
or stones over them with cracks between), or they must dig 
holes in the earth and fill them up when they leave. Men must 

[ml 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

be careful because this is a fundamental health measure pro- 
tecting the people and themselves. 

"Do you understand?" the speaker asked. The men replied, 
"We understand." 

Then the platoon of men began to sing. They sang a song 
that one can hear wherever the Communists and their armies 
are to be found, the song of the three major and eight minor 
principles of the army! These principles have been set to mu- 
sic, and the music is beautiful. Tonight, as these hungry men 
sang, and then as they marched away to their beds of straw 
or cornstalks spread on mud floors, their singing had more 
meaning to me than ever before. Their voices were like a 
string orchestra in the night. I, who had had food this day, 
realized that I can never know fully the meaning, the essence 
of the Chinese struggle for liberation which lies embedded in 
the hearts of these workers and peasants. I am still an on- 
looker and my position is privileged. I will always have food 
though these men hunger. I will have clothing and a warm 
bed though they freeze. They will fight and many of them 
will lie on frozen battlefields. I will be an onlooker. I watched 
them blend with the darkness of the street; they still sang. 
And I hungered for the spark of vision that would enable me 
to see into their minds and hearts and picture their convic- 
tions about the great struggle for which they give more than 
their lives. 

It was perhaps to ease our hearts that Li-po and I went 
down to Chu Teh's headquarters. The roar of big Japanese 
guns came from over the hills. Chu Teh and Jen Peh-si wel- 
comed us and one of their smiling guards brought us Chinese 
tea served in the enamel cups we all carry. Jen Peh-si began 
to tell us that we had just missed two hundred miners who 
[m] 



HEADQUARTERS OF CHU TEH 

came over from Pintingchow, the Japanese stronghold on the 
Chentai railway. When the rich men, and later the Chinese 
troops, fled before the Japanese armies, these miners remained, 
took rifles from the small local arsenal, and waged guerrilla 
warfare on the enemy. They mined and blew up the railway 
repeatedly. They were the first Volunteers along the railway 
and from the beginning they had contact with the Eighth 
Route Army men in North Shansi. They continued to fight 
under terrible difficulties, and they had come here without 
shoes, or with shoes worn down to shreds. They had eaten but 
once a day and sometimes not that, they had no winter over- 
coats and only their summer clothing of overall material. We 
had a few extra pairs of shoes which we gave them, and we 
gave them food and all we could. They came to ask if they 
should join the Eighth Route Army or should continue to 
operate as Volunteers. For the time being they will continue 
guerrilla fighting. They left this same night for guerrilla at- 
tacks along the railway at another point. 

Jen Peh-si then told us more of the Volunteer movement. 
The Partisans are organized by the Eighth Route Army, and 
are now led by it so that they are a branch of the army. In 
North Shansi, in Chahar, and in Sulyiian Provinces, there are 
now from five to six thousand Volunteers in regions occupied 
by the Japanese. They struggle under unheard-of difficulties. 
They are without winter clothing, without sufficient food, 
without money. These Volunteers are not organically con- 
nected with the Eighth Route Army, though Communist 
organizers have started many of the groups. 



["3] 



Battles and Raids 
with the Forces of Lin Piao 



'November 5, 

WE DO not move headquarters today. This morning at four- 
thirty the bugles woke me. They came faintly and sleepily, as 
always. All the bugles seemed to be in action. Then one little 
bugler seemed to get a great idea. He began to play a melody. 
He played it over and over again. It was the melody of an old 
Red Army song of victory. One of my guards heard it, leaped 
from his bed and was gone through the courtyard like a bul- 
let. He came back ten minutes later shouting, "Big victory! 
Big victory!" And everyone sprang out of bed to hear that 
Lin Piao's troops beyond the range of hills had dealt the Jap- 
anese a serious blow. The enemy had come down, nine thou- 
sand of them, in columns, from Pintingchow; the Eighth 
Route had retreated to a village, Kwangyang, and had awaited 
them in the hills. They had cut their column, held the front 
part back with heavy fighting, and destroyed about one thou- 
sand of those in the rear. They took five hundred horses and 
mules and vast quantities of supplies, and also some prisoners. 
Not all of this news was given by my guard. Hsu Chuen 
had rushed out to the Enemy Department to learn that they 
were going to the front, and we could go along. He had gone 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

to get Chu Teh's permission, and Chu Teh gave it gladly 
and came in person to our room to give us the details of the 
victory. We must be careful, he said, for many Japanese planes 
are flying over that whole region. 

In half an hour we were on the road, taking only our bed- 
ding, and I my typewriter and camera. Half an hour out we 
met the first airplane scouting over the region. The bugle call 
in our headquarters came faintly to us as we lay down by the 
side of cliffs. We knew that the fight was still going on, that 
the Japanese were split up in small units all over the hills. A 
special detachment of armed men escorted us lest we meet any 
of them. On all the hills leading to our headquarters we could 
see improvised lookouts in which our sentinels sat. We met a 
strong, handsome young peasant hurrying along the road to- 
ward headquarters and we knew that he belonged to our in- 
telligence service and was bringing news. 

After about three hours we reached a village three or four 
li from the scene of the battle. One of our party had reached 
there before us, taking our armed escort with him without 
waiting for us. So we remained stuck in the village, unable to 
go to the battlefield. I cursed the very stars. Well, we could 
look about. The little village was clogged to its very gullet 
with captured animals and supplies. Here were hundreds of 
horses and mules loaded with Japanese ammunition, uni- 
forms, caps, and medicine. They were ready to be sent to the 
rear. In one room we found a Japanese captive and talked with 
him. He is a radio worker from Osaka, and he speaks some 
English. He did not seem unhappy and the men in charge 
had put him at his ease and served him food. He said he did 
not know why the Japanese Army fights China he was in 
the army and he obeyed. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

In a big compound we found thirty-eight peasants from 
Manchuria who had been recruited for the Japanese by Chi- 
nese traitors. These traitors had told the men that they would 
give them work for many months and pay them for it. The 
men accepted. Then they found themselves beasts of burden 
in the Japanese Army of invasion. They had received no 
money, and they had been fed but once a day. At night, to 
prevent their escape, the Japanese had chained each man by 
one hand to the leg of a horse. 

These Chinese peasants from Manchuria were a terrible 
sight to see. When we entered they arose, removed their mis- 
erable rags that served as hats and bowed low as the Japanese 
had forced them to do. They were emaciated and debased. 
Their bodies bore the marks of constant beatings. I watched 
them when they were formed in two lines to be removed to 
a village some four li to the rear. For we all were moving at 
once. This village might be raided any minute by Japanese 
soldiers roaming the hills about. I watched the Manchunan 
peasants form in two lines and listened to an Eighth Route 
Army man talk to them. They were now amongst their own 
people, and with an army of workers and peasants like them- 
selves, the speaker said. Henceforth they were comrades to- 
gether and he hoped they would join us in fighting the enemy 
and in struggling for a better life for all the people of China. 
Were they willing? A movement went through the lines of 
ragged men. "Tell us how," one of them said, and others 
said, "Tell us how!" Tears blinded me and I turned away. 
Later I saw these men as stretcher carriers for the Eighth 
Route Army wounded. They had been given shoes and peas- 
ant clothing, and I saw some of them coming down a hill, the 
stretchers high on their shoulders. Two carried the stretcher 

[116] 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

and two others eagerly ran by the side o the wounded man, 
watching him anxiously and with the most devoted attention, 
lest he fall or slide as their companions went down the steep 
decline. There was an eagerness about these men that was 
deeply moving. Their faces were literally alight with joy and 
pride. I talked with one of the wounded men carried by four 
of the Manchurian peasants. 

But where are the words on this earth to describe that 
wounded man? He was an Eighth Route Army peasant from 
Hupeh Province and his age was about thirty. He had been 
in the Red Army from its earliest days. He had been wounded 
seven times, and I saw some of the old black scars. Now he 
was wounded by machine-gun fire, through the right arm and 
through the chest. When I say he was a peasant, I do not 
mean any stupid, slow-moving or slow-thinking person. His 
face was sharply carved and he was thin; it was a face that 
would make you turn and look, alight with intelligence arid 
consciousness. The eyes were large and brown and now were 
filled with suffering. He talked slowly and then rested, and 
his eyes ranged from one to the other of us. Our army has no 
medicine to deaden his anguish. And he asked us if we had 
any. I had a sleeping drug and I gave it to him. 

One thing I shall never forget in this man. When we first 
asked him at what place ahead of us he had been wounded, 
he said he would not tell us. Only after we had told him who 
we were, and after we had assured him that I was no enemy, 
and no one who would betray, did he tell us the name of the 
place. For there his comrades are still fighting. 

The liberated Manchurian peasants lifted him to their shoul- 
ders and carried him away to a rear hospital. 

The village in the rear to which we were going was but 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

four li away that is, a mile and a third. But it took us over 
two hours to reach it. It was not our long line of animals, 
burdened with trophies of war, that halted us, though they 
moved slowly. Ahead of me moved a very high thin Japanese 
horse loaded with two huge trunks bearing the mark of the 
Red Cross. That was medicine. Some mules carried boxes of 
ammunition. All moved slowly, and it was a miracle only 
that no Japanese bombers came to blow us into eternity. For 
the paths were narrow and often there would have been no 
escape on either side. Bare, perpendicular cliffs towered on one 
side, and on the other was a chasm through which a river 
plunged. 

It took us so long to go the mile and a third because the 
valley, the paths, the river bed became filled with a whole 
division of the Eighth Route Army rushing to the front to 
re-enforce Lin Piao's troops. When I say "rush," I mean 
"rush." They marched in units of about a thousand men. 
They came swiftly as if it were early morning and they had 
just arisen from bed. Yet they had marched most of the night. 
They carried their rifles, some men two, their dismantled 
machine guns, and their bedding rolls on their backs. They 
had few animals, and these came plodding in the rear bur- 
dened with more arms and ammunition. One wave of a 
thousand would pass, as we halted to give them the right of 
way, then we would go on for a few minutes and stand aside 
for another column. Or sometimes we halted, hailed old 
friends who rushed at us with outstretched arms, talked a few 
breathless, incomplete words, and then were gone as a new 
blue-gray wave was upon us. When they came down the hills 
they broke into a run. The rest of the time they marched with 
remarkable swiftness. There was about them an eagerness, an 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

exultation, that did not express itself in laughter, though there 
was much laughter and now and then a snatch of singing. We 
passed whole battalions dothed in Japanese overcoats and 
some in Japanese uniforms. There must have been two to 
three thousand men clad like this and we knew that each 
coat had meant a dead Japanese. These men carried on their 
shoulders the certain signs of their victory. We admired the 
coats. They are almost the color of the earth in this autumn 
and winter weather. If an airplane comes, a man has but to 
stand still, and he cannot be seen. Some of our men also car- 
ried warm woolen Japanese blankets on their backs instead 
of cheap gray cotton ones. They all wore the Chinese caps 
and Chinese soft shoes and leggings, and their caps bore 
either the white sun on the blue field, or the red star. For 
many of them still wear the red star of the Red Army. And 
many men still wear the Red Army uniform with the red bar 
on the collar. 

I saw a new column coming rapidly toward us, and a man 
at the head of it suddenly shouted my name and began run- 
ning forward. As he came near I saw it was Chen Ken, the 
brilliant young commander, formerly of the i2th Division of 
the Fourth Front Red Army, then commander of the first 
division of the First Front Army, then leader of a battalion 
in the Anti-Japanese University at Yenan, in North Shensi. 
He had gone to the front and was now a commander in the 
i29th Division of the Eighth Route Army. He had been hold- 
ing a position near Siyang to the east. I immediately asked 
him to allow us to go with him. He did not know how to 
arrange it. The division commander, Liu Peh-cheng, was 
coining, he said we should ask him. We halted and he was 
gone, racing down the road to the head of his column, while 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

we went on looking for Liu Peh-cheng. At last we found him 
with his staff, and our question confronted him with a prob- 
lem he did not know how to solve. He did not know what 
the conditions were on the battlefront, he said, he did not 
know how to protect us; perhaps we could wait in the Politi- 
cal Department there in that little village. 

I cursed myself later for doing this instead of just turning 
about and going with him. We all knew that on this night 
there would be fierce fighting throughout this region. It was 
in the midst of it that we longed to be. We all hate sitting 
even two or three li in the rear, with the sound of bombard- 
ment in our ears. 

The Political Department in the little village was a mess. 
There were two men in charge, but they did not know what 
to do about anything. One of them was organizing the cap- 
tured war trophies the military maps, the Japanese banners, 
the "thousand stitch cloths" made by Japanese women to 
guard soldiers against bullets, and the Buddhist charms de- 
signed for the same purposes. But the latter had been useless 
when the Eighth Route Army met their bearers, whose dead 
bodies lined the roads for miles on the battlefield. This same 
man was looking over a big pile of Japanese bank notes. There 
were 4^400 yen. He handed us bundles of them. They are ut- 
terly useless, he said, for we use only Chinese money! At 
Pinghsiangkwan in North Shansi, the Army burned piles of 
this money, and here on the battlefield they tore up thousands 
of dollars and sent it sailing on the wind. And why, I asked, 
did they do this with money, while they were willing to use 
Japanese ammunition, medicine, clothing and food? The 
money was useless, the man replied. Then I insisted that it 
be carefuly collected from the pockets of everyone about, and 
[120] 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

sent in bundles to General Headquarters, to be sent to Mao 
Tse-tung in Yenan, North Shensi, who could have It ex- 
changed. This astounded everyone, but they gladly did as we 
said. Later I saw men disgorging Japanese yen. They were 
sending it to General Headquarters. 

This night a new Japanese captive, a company commander, 
was brought in. His name is Saaki, and he was a merchant 
from Osaka. On September i3th he left Osaka, passed through 
Korea into Manchuria, and stayed in Chinchow ten days. On 
October loth he arrived at Fengtai near Peiping, then went 
on to Paoting, to Shihchiachwang, then up the Chentai rail- 
way to Pinting. I asked him why he fought the Chinese, and 
he said because Chinese have for years been killing Japanese. 
The papers he read told him so. China was also in great dis- 
order, he said, and no Japanese life was safe. No, he had never 
heard that Japanese and other foreigners killed Chinese. I 
told him he was not in China because Chinese kill Japanese, 
but he was here because Japanese militarists and capitalists 
want the vast wealth of China; and that neither he nor any 
of the ordinary Japanese people will get any of it. They will 
merely be stupid tools to help their ruling class hold this 
wealth. Yes, he said, he supposed that the Japanese people 
would get nothing from China only the big people would 
get something. 

He said the Japanese are fighting for justice, and that soon 
Nanking will make peace. He was very confident that the 
Japanese Army would be victorious, and that after Nanking 
and Tokyo make peace on Tokyo's terms, there will be peace 
in China. We told him that while Japanese armies are on 
Chinese soil there will be no peace in China that the Chi- 
nese Eighth Route Army that holds him captive, and the 

[121] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

other armies and people of China will fight until the last 
Japanese is driven from Chinese soil. He smiled a little at 
this, as if we were children. He had supreme faith in the 
Japanese war machine and he was not afraid of saying so. 

Later, Lin Piao talked with him. He told Lin Piao that by 
the rules of the Japanese Army he can never return to Japan, 
because he has been taken captive. He asked for a gun or a 
sword, that he might be allowed to return to his division and 
fight again and save his honor! But he and the Japanese 
worker who had also been captured were sent to General 
Headquarters, along with other prisoners. The worker will 
be kept and educated, I am told, and the officer given money 
and sent home. This officer is not only a merchant but he has 
a bank account and lives off the interest on his money. To 
expect anything from such a man seems madness. The Jap- 
anese militarists have told all their soldiers that the Chinese 
kill all captives. This is why the soldiers fight to the last 
rather than be taken captive. 

The worker-captive seemed innocent enough, I told my 
companions. Then they showed me his diary, taken from his 
body. Here is a passage from it: 

"Diary of E. Matsui: 

"October 29th. Before we started a company commander 
told us that our army at Chihungchen had been attacked by 
the enemy. We must be careful. We were there on the 25th. 
It was at this same place that our regiment first met the 
enemy. Because the people of this place are very dangerous, 
we killed more than thirty young men, and then left. After 
walking a short distance, we stopped. Today we ate yellow 
beans with rice. Very good." 

In the diary there was not one word of horror that the 

[122] 




Terraced hills of rich loess earth in northern Shansi 




Field tytchen t Eighth Route Army 




Mao Tse-Uing, leader of the 
Chinese Communist Party 



Ting Ling, famous Chinese 

writer and leader of a "Front 

Service Group" of the Eighth 

Route Army 




BATTLES AND RAIDS 

Japanese Army had taken thirty young Chinese men out and 
slaughtered them "because the people of this place are very 
dangerous." 

Back in the dark corner o the room in which we spend this 
night I have found two rosebushes, half dead. On one there 
is a lone red bud. It is as red as blood. It lifts its head above 
piles of broken jars, pans, chairs, and a thousand other things. 
I sleep near-by, on top of a long, narrow, low chest. 

November 6, 7957 

We are going with the Enemy Department to Lin Piao's 
field headquarters. The place is secret, and we can find it only 
with peasant guides. A regimental representative in the village 
gave us a note to a village beyond, where a young peasant came 
out to guide us. On the walls of the village were slogans, 
proclamations of various kinds, and manifestos of the Eighth 
Route Army. Here were the ten principles of the Communist 
Party, and a special manifesto of the Political Department of 
the ii5th Division of the Eighth Route Army, to the masses, 
telling them the principles of the Eighth Route Army, and 
asking for their cooperation. This manifesto read: 

"The Japanese have attacked China; they loot, rape, and 
rob our people and burn our houses in an attempt to conquer 
and destroy our nation. Manchuria has been lost and now 
North China, Shanghai and Nanking are being fiercely at- 
tacked. 

"Our army is beginning the fight against the Japanese. We 
must destroy them. We fear nothing. We hate all they rep- 
resent. Our army has strict rules. We never force people to 
carry things for us, we never force people to give us money. 
We buy according to the market prices. We never beat the 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

people or force them to do anything. We hope our fellow 
countrymen will never fear us, and that our soldiers and the 
people will unite and go together to the front to fight. We 
call upon the people to organize, and we will give them arms. 
We must arrest all traitors and spies of the enemy. We must 
post sentinels everywhere. Men with money must give it. 
Those with surplus food must give. Those with false power 
must surrender it to the people. Those with guns must fight. 
We must develop Partisan warfare and cut off the enemy 
communications and attack their trucks. 

"People of the whole country, unite to fight! Victory will 
be ours!" 

Now we have the armed escort that was taken to the front 
by one of our party. This man, from the army of General 
Yang Hu-chen, has returned from the battlefield. Rows of 
Japanese dead, mingled with dead mules and horses, lay for 
over a mile, he said. He brought back some secret documents 
taken from the body of an officer. 

We go up and around, over, down and around again, these 
cone-shaped mountains. We are constantly seeing airplanes. By 
the end of the day we have met thirteen in all. Once we saw 
three flying in formation, and later, five. They flew lower 
than usual, looking for our army. We crouched by the side of 
cliffs and waited for them to pass. But my pony Yunnan will 
not crouch, and he is a danger to everyone. Donkeys and 
mules and horses stop dumbly and wait, but my miserable 
pony jumps up and down in one place, rearing and kicking, 
and the airplane that cannot sec him and machine-gun him 
is no airplane. Along this route we met many groups of 
refugees leaving the region, guarded and guided by Eighth 
Route Army men. They have come from places where the 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

Japanese are fighting. Once we met a group along a narrow 
path. There were men, women, children, and donkeys among 
them. Neither group could pass. And just at this moment we 
heard the roar of planes and saw five of them coming directly 
over us. All who could raced for safer places, but the animals 
and the refugees halted and waited. When the planes had 
passed I came up on the path. The old peasant women, foot- 
bound and wrinkled with age, sat on their donkeys, unmov- 
ing. At the rear of the refugees, standing close against the 
cliff, were three little children perhaps four to six years old. 
They held each other's hands tighdy and stood close together, 
perfectly motionless. Their eyes were big and frightened. The 
refugees carried all they possessed padded quilts, a few rags 
and a few household utensils. 

After what seemed endless hours of walking, climbing and 
riding, we reached Lin Piao's field headquarters. He had been 
up all night and he and some of his staff were now asleep on 
their one %ang in a little room hung with military maps. I 
was in such pain that I lay down when they got up and from 
the J(ang I watched them at work. There are telephone lines 
stretched across this country, and one of them ended in Lin 
Piao's headquarters. Hsu Hsiang-ch'ien called from Kwang- 
yang village to report that the Japanese were attacking in 
large forces. Lin ordered the Eighth Route forces there to 
retreat a little. Later he ordered another retreat, carefully 
tracing the route of retreat on the map before him. The Eighth 
Route is waiting for a big battle. But the Japanese have 
brought in reenforcements, so now they have not just nine 
thousand men but perhaps two or three times that, Lin Piao 
and his staff are perfectly calm about it. "We cannot fight 
them openly," he told us. "There are too many of them* We 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

will employ Partisan warfare. We will select the places where 
we wish to fight." And so they were retreating and watching 
and waiting. When the big battle will come is not certain- 
tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night. We do not know. 

I asked to go to Liu Peh-cheng's field headquarters. Lin 
Piao said no. It was too dangerous. The Japanese are too 
numerous. If I go with our men, I would have to go with 
small Partisan groups that move very rapidly. I am not able to 
walk very far. So I lie on his J(ang and listen to the occasional 
bombardment. "What does it mean?" I ask. "Nothing," Lin 
says. "The Japanese fire without an objective. We have no 
'positions,' so they can do nothing So they just fire for the 
psychological effect." He smiled his dry little smile. The air- 
planes drone over our headquarters, and, seeing nothing, are 
gone. 

The place is jammed. Sardines have an easy time compared 
to us. There are but eight houses. Our group gets one of the 
"houses" caves dug in the loess cliffs. On the J(ang sleep my 
two guards, my two newspaper companions, and, at the end, 
myself. At the foot of the I(ang f on a door, sleeps Tsai Chen 
of the Enemy Department, Farther back in the cave sleep 
eight or ten men, or more, on the floor, with some straw be- 
neath them. We all take this for granted, and I suppose that 
I alone find it unusual. 

One of our party has just returned from visiting friends in 
a village beyond. And what treasures he brings! two fine 
Japanese pistols, some hard candy, and some concentrated 
food. He brings boiled water and with much excitement we 
prepare the concentrated food captured from the enemy. None 
of us has ever seen it before. But what a fine thing it is! If 
only our army could have some of it. Then the hard candy 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

it was eaten with long-drawn sighs by most of the men, who 
have had no sugar for months. 

One of the Enemy Department returns from Kwangyang 
village. He went to bring back two more Japanese captives. 
On the way he saw the approach of a company of enemy 
troops, and he had to make a big detour, and later lead men 
back to the place, where there must have been a fight by 
this time. 

Nine P. M.- Someone is telling the story of the Sian inci- 
dent, when Chiang Kai-shek was held by Chang Hsueh-liang, 
and calls upon me for verification. I have much to verify I 
was there when it happened. Through the holes in the paper- 
covered window I see the brilliant outline of the new moon 
coming over the hills beyond. Two stars near-by are very 
bright. Before the window my pony champs the chopped 
cornstalks given him as food. We can buy no corn here. I 
recall that Lin Piao has given me another horse one captured 
from the Japanese. He has also given me three Japanese over- 
coats for my guards. And he has given my two companions 
horses to ride. Henceforth we move in style. About me is the 
hum of voices and the deep breathing of some of our men 
who can sleep through anything. I want to go to the battlefield 
with some fighting group. How to arrange this is the one 
thought in my mind. 

Field Headquarters of Lin Piao 
Not/ember j, 1957 

It is three in the morning and I am awakened by the 
bombardment of Japanese guns. There are six explosions in 
rapid succession. I arise and go outdoors. The moon is gone 
and there are but few stars. From the direction of Kwang- 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

yang all is silent. I work until daybreak, sitting up in bed, 
with a candle by my side. 

By six everyone is up and a drama is being enacted in this 
cave. A Chinese student who acted as translator for the Jap- 
anese armies has been captured and is brought in. He says he 
was a student at the special school for policemen established 
in Mukden by the Japanese. And he also "managed" the cap- 
tured Chinese captives. He is being tried, and he pleads his 
case. He sits on the edge of our t(ang and so do a number of 
our men, and I lie in bed and listen. The poor gentleman was 
"forced" to act as translator for the Japanese. They just forced 
him and forced him and forced him! And to show his sin- 
cerity, he weeps. Our men listen in silence. One is very simple- 
minded, for he says to me, "The man is politically ignorant." 

"Politically ignorant, hell!" I reply. "The Japanese had to 
chain the peasants to the feet of horses to keep them from 
running away; but this fellow was never chained to a horse 
or anything else." A dozen men agree with me and Tsai 
Chen's face wears an expression of cold hatred. 

There is occasional bombardment and the explosion of air- 
plane bombs from the regions north and northeast of us. 

The Enemy Department has received new captured docu- 
ments from the Japanese. Two of these are secret military 
documents from the Military Affairs Committee of the Nan- 
king Government. Both of these give full details of Nanking's 
military plans, all of its armed forces and their locations and 
equipment at certain times, with Nanking's plans for defense. 
There are maps of every kind. These documents were cap- 
tured from the Japanese last night. Here in our hands lie the 
most secret documents of Nanking, captured from the na- 
tion's enemy. 

[128] 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

Field Headquarters of Lin Piao 
November 7, 1957 

This evening, as the shadows began to turn the deep ravines 
into black pits, I stood on the summit of a terraced mountain. 
A narrow path strewn with sharp stones led up out of a long 
dark ravine, around the terraces of stone, steadily upward, 
until it reached a point where I stood; then it dropped quickly 
downward into another ravine leading to the north, where it 
emptied into a valley running east and west through which 
twenty thousand Japanese troops were moving westward to- 
ward the city of Taiyiian. 

Up this narrow, stony path came long lines of Chinese sol- 
diers, marching with astounding swiftness. Their clothing was 
the blue-gray cotton which they always wear, their shoes were 
cotton doth slippers with soft soles. Many wore string or rope 
sandals, and almost all had no stockings. Above their heads 
extended the ends of their rifles, with bayonets fixed. Some 
carried machine guns, and behind them toiled mules, heaving 
under heavy loads of ammunition. In pockets about the waist 
of each man were many hand grenades, and on their backs 
were small square packs with gray cotton blankets around 
them. Two battalions of the old Red Army from Kiangsi 
were marching to battle, marching with their two-hundred- 
li-a-day stride that has no equal on earth. They were out- 
flanking the oncoming Japanese. 

The shadows of night deepened and the coiling line of men 
merged with the darkness of the ravines below. One by one 
the men stepped up out of the darkness and passed along the 
path, then plunged down into darkness again. For three or 
four seconds each man passed before me, and as he passed, 
turned his face toward me. He spoke no word, but passed like 

[09! 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

a shadow. His soft-soled shoes made no sound. Sometimes a 
rifle clanked against a shovel on a man's back. Some o the 
shadowy figures were heaving, and their faces gleamed with 
perspiration. But not one slackened that steady, swift pace that 
can cover twice or three times the marching distance of 
ordinary soldiers. 

As each figure stepped up out of the shadows, the faces and 
figures of the Chinese people passed before me. These faces 
had been molded in a thousand battles. They were strong as 
steel, firmly set, grim. Yet there was no cruelty in them, no 
stupidity or dullness. There was a living, vital consciousness, 
and now an expression of surprise as they saw a foreigner 
standing behind their lines. All knew that no enemy could be 
there, so many smiled their welcome but spoke nothing. Some 
were men as tall and broad as the strongest Western soldier, 
some shorter and heavy-set, as strong as some of the animals 
carrying their ammunition, and some thin and wiry. Some 
were middle-aged men who looked like fathers of families 
and some were in their early twenties with the light of youth 
and great vision in their gleaming eyes. 

One column passed. There was no one on the path before 
me; then out of the darkness stepped a peasant, clad as all 
peasants are, in blue denim, his head wrapped in a short face- 
towel knotted above the forehead so that the two ends spread 
out like little wings. Such peasants marched before each col- 
umn, guiding it over the paths, and so intimately linked with 
the people is this Eighth Route Army that the men follow 
them, never doubting, never questioning. The peasants also 
turned their faces toward me, turned to look back without 
slackening their swift march, and plunged into the darkness 
beyond. 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

It seemed to me that I was passing through one of the 
greatest moments in Chinese history, and in the history of the 
world. The scene seemed unreal, yet as real as the stone cliffs. 
The iron Chinese people, destined to decide the fate of all 
Asia and, in countless ways the destiny of mankind, stepped 
up out of the darkness, passed, and then with swift and silent 
march, plunged into the darkness again. One big man passed 
by and I must have exclaimed at something. For he turned his 
face back toward me, laughing until he was lost in the dark- 
ness. 

The figures appeared and disappeared, and a great excite- 
ment filled me. I wanted to follow, to go where they led, to be 
with these men of destiny. But the night had come and I still 
stood watching and waiting. Then there were no more and I 
stood on the mountaintop alone, looking down into the dark 
ravine. Somewhere over a path my guard was running and 
calling my name, searching for me. He came and we ran side 
by side, hand in hand, down over another path that over- 
looked the ravine into which the marchers had disappeared. 
We could neither hear nor see anything. We ran up the path 
of a higher hill beyond, but still we could not see or hear any- 
thing. Now my other guard also joined us, and we three hur- 
ried on from hill to hill, over to the north overlooking the 
valley through which the Japanese invaders were coining. A 
high hill with a clump of pines arose beyond, and we went 
swiftly toward it. A voice challenged us, my guards answered 
and the voice said, "Pass." We rounded the top of the hill 
near the pines and came to a large group of armed men 
standing silent. Beyond moved the dark outline of unarmed 
men, watching the valley beyond. 

Lin Piao and his staff were on this hill. The chiefof-staff 

[131] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

came up to me, took me by the hand, and led me around the 
hill behind a low mud embankment. We sat on the earth so 
that only our heads could be seen above the embankment. 
Beyond us lay the long valley through which the Japanese 
were coming. We could not see any moving figures, but we 
saw what could only be the Japanese. For all the towns and 
villages in the countryside beyond were in flames. Kwangyang 
was burning, Shanlungchen and Hsialungchen to the north- 
east, and Sunta to the west, were in flames. From a mountain- 
side to the east there were occasional bursts of fire and then 
intervals of silence, followed by the bursting of shells. Two 
big Japanese guns were bombarding the mountainsides be- 
yond on the chance that they might hit something. Down the 
valley to the east came the dull hammering of machine guns 
and now and then the crack of rifles as if men were carefully 
selecting their object. From the direction in which the long 
lines of marchers had gone came no sound. They were cross- 
ing the valley before the advancing Japanese, then going up 
dark ravines to the northeast beyond Shanlungchen. Four 
thousand Japanese were in the valley at our feet, and twenty 
thousand all together converging on this point. They outnum- 
bered us four to one. Lin Piao and his men moved cautiously 
over the hill, then farther down toward the burning town of 
Kwangyang. 

What could burn in these poor towns and villages? The 
buildings are of mud and stone, the J(angs inside of mud. 
There remains only furniture, chests, chairs, and tables. But, 
above all, there were the crops. On the flat mud roofs of the 
buildings the peasants have heaped their year's crops. There 
they have piled yellow corn, millet, kaoliang, cornstalks to be 
used as feed for the animals through the winter. There were 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

heaped also piles of sticks and small branches of trees, gath- 
ered from the hillsides as fuel for the winter. All were burn- 
ing. The Japanese had taken what they wanted, taken the 
congealed labor of the people, and burned the rest. To my 
mind came the description of a Chinese city of ancient days 
under the heel of the Tartars. 

"We cannot fight the Japanese," Lin Piao had said to me 
yesterday. "There are too many of them. Our forces in this 
region are relatively few. We are the only army in the rear 
of the enemy, both here and in North Shansi, where the 
enemy has twenty thousand and more men at Sinkow alone. 
What we can do is split the enemy up in smaller groups 
wherever possible, and destroy them. We can harass them, 
cut their communication routes so they can get no reenforce- 
ments, no food, no supplies of any kind. We have already cut 
the Chentai railway here in many places. The Japanese are 
trying to rebuild this narrow-gauge line, widening it, so they 
can run trains from the Pinghan line over it. They are trying 
the same from Tatung in the North. But their work is more 
than difficult, and we destroy all they build." 

It was late when we returned to headquarters. All the men 
in our cave were asleep, save for three who had also gone to 
the hill. The sleepers arose or sat up in their beds and asked 
what we had seen. Three went out to spend the night watch- 
ing the battle. But there would be little fighting this night. It 
is a black night and you cannot distinguish friend from 
enemy. 



[133] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Field Headquarters of Lin Piao 
November 8, i<)yj 

Some of us had hoped that there would be a victory this 
night to celebrate November 7th. But there was little fighting 
and our army spent the night taking up new positions. We 
awoke to the bursting of Japanese shells and the occasional 
ratde of machine guns. Right after breakfast, we told each 
other, we would go to some lookout to watch the fighting. 

We wanted to go to the battlefield, and we got our wish 
for the battlefield came to us. It came in the form of a bom- 
bardment from Japanese field guns. We were in the court- 
yard, with bowls of millet in our hands, when the first shell 
burst a few yards away, lifting a mule and what seemed a 
ton of earth a hundred feet into the air. We thought it acci- 
dental until the second shell came and we heard the swish of 
air from the bursting. Well, there was nothing to do but 
finish our breakfast inside, in the cave. And there was no 
reason to stop eating because, if the shells did not hit us we 
would miss breakfast, and if they did, the loss of a little 
breakfast millet would not matter much to the army. So we 
ate on and we sort of smiled at each other when another shell 
burst somewhere outside our headquarters. Tsai Chen raised 
his eyebrows and said to me, "You wanted to go to the battle- 
field?" 

There was really no need to start bawling about things, so 
I took some more cabbage and admitted the fact. But it was 
the first time I had ever been shelled by field guns, and I must 
admit that I was nervous. Men were discussing the reason 
for the bombardment. No spies were necessary, they said. 
Outside our headquarters, on a high embankment, stood a 
long line of guards and troops off duty looking in the direc- 



BATIXES AND RAIDS 

tion of the big guns and the machine-gun firing. The Jap- 
anese had undoubtedly seen them and taken a shot. 

Then a sentinel came stumbling into our courtyard, blood 
streaming from his mouth and nose. He was shot through the 
thigh and had fallen and hurt his face. He was a boy no more 
than seventeen or eighteen and his hand trembled from the 
pain. And so I began my first-aid work in the army. I was 
busy at this when an order came from Lin Piao telling every- 
one to move to the rear, for this whole place would soon be a 
battlefield. Lin Piao then came in person and told us to return 
to General Headquarters because our forces were moving up 
and around the ravines back of headquarters, drawing the 
Japanese inland. There would be Partisan fighting through- 
out this region. He smiled a little as he spoke, and there was 
no excitement about him. 

Soon we were going up the paths behind headquarters, 
passing a line of doctors, men nurses, and stretcher-bearers 
hurrying to the battlefield. These doctors and nurses are all 
workers and peasants trained in former years in the Red 
Army Medical School near Juikin in South Kiangsi, though 
in the last two years many young men have been trained in 
the Red Army Medical School in North Shensi Province. 
Then behind us the paths became a mass of rapidly moving 
men and animals. A regiment of our army was moving to 
new positions. They overtook us and our group mingled with 
them. They halted and took up positions in the gullies of the 
long ravine before us. Peasants streamed out of a nearby vil- 
lage, carrying everything they could. We saw that almost all 
the men were remaining behind. The refugees were women 
and children, old men and young boys. A commander told 

[135] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

us that four thousand of the enemy were coming through this 
ravine. 

We saw our first airplane of the day a few yards farther on. 
We hid while it drummed slowly over us. We were torn be- 
tween the necessity to obey orders and the desire to remain 
behind and watch the real fighting. Some of us climbed to the 
top of a hill and watched, but could not see any signs of the 
enemy. Another plane came droning overhead, but apparently 
saw nothing. We debated which was the worse an airplane 
or a field gun. I held that you could hear an airplane ap- 
proach, while a shell from a field gun would suddenly burst 
near you without warning. And, as if to demonstrate my 
meaning, a shell burst with a rattling sound somewhere down 
the mountainside. 

Before long we were riding and walking steadily south- 
ward over a mountain range terraced from foot to summit. 
We could look for miles on either side on an endless sea of 
terraces. The soil was sometimes reddish, blue, or green, until 
the whole scene took on an opalescent color of great beauty. 
The terraces gave the scene the appearance of a rippling lake. 
Some of the terraces about us had been planted to some win- 
ter crop, and all had been plowed for the winter. But there 
were few or no people, and if the Japanese are not halted, 
there will be a famine in this region next year. 

Before the town of Mafang, which had been our headquar- 
ters a few days ago, we took shelter from two more planes, 
then passed through the gates of the town. There was not a 
soul in sight, and the sound of our horses' hoofs on the cob- 
blestone streets echoed against the deserted buildings. Procla- 
mations, posters, slogans, cried their messages of liberation to 
the empty air. One lone man came down a narrow lane and 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

we asked him where the people were. They had gone with the 
Eighth Route Army, he said. The fighting was so near that 
they would not remain after our headquarters had left. 

We went on and I learned that my pony has a good mem- 
ory. For he turned up a lane and made straight for his old 
stable, nor could all my pulling halt him. 

We found one building occupied by a company of our 
troops, left here as outposts. So we rested ourselves and our 
animals and cooked a meal of millet and carrots. We then 
rode farther, along the banks of a river that roared in clear 
torrents over its stony bed. The river would be beautiful, I 
thought, under other conditions. But now the roar of the 
water prevented us from hearing the approach of airplanes. 
The sun poured down on the valley, but the edges of the river 
were frozen, and the little mountain streams that emptied 
into it had been frozen as they fell. When we crossed the 
rivers, our horses broke through the ice lying between stones. 
Here all was peace, and the sound of bursting shells did not 
reach us. Some of the hills on either side were wastelands of 
stone and barren earth. But wherever humanly possible, the 
peasants had made good patches of land, building terraces 
eight to ten feet high of carefully selected long stones. Genera- 
tions of labor lay embedded in these terraces. 

The night fell and we still traveled, complaining against 
ourselves that we had lingered so long at Mafang. And with 
the darkness came an all-penetrating cold that made riding 
difficult. It was nine at night when we halted for rest in a 
peasant's house. While we were about it we may as well take 
our time, we said, so we all got on the warm %ang, sitting 
or lying down, talking of the war while the peasants cooked 
millet for us. They had no vegetables at all except some tiny 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

potatoes which they washed and threw in, skin and all, into the 
boiling millet. There was no salt and no fat in the village, 
there were no eggs because there were no chickens. The peas- 
ants complained to us about a wandering band of men who 
came here a few days ago, saying they were from the Eighth 
Route Army. The people gave them food, and then the men 
left without paying. So the people had been cheated. The men 
were Partisans, the peasants said, and they had not a copper. 

Well, the fact is that the Partisans are connected with the 
Eighth Route Army, and have been organized by it. They 
also often do not have a red cent. So we pay the poor peasants 
for the conduct of our comrades and go on through the night. 
Two young peasants go with us as guides, and it seems there 
is no end to the road before us. At midnight we reach a vil- 
lage a few li from our General Headquarters. Here our In- 
telligence Service has its headquarters. They put us up in one 
room of a compound where poor peasants lived. We lie feet 
to head like sardines in a tin, on the J(ang f and some of our 
party spread corristalks on the mud floor and sleep there. 

We awake to a bitterly cold morning. The village is so poor 
that it has no horsefeed, and my horse and mule and our 
other animals go without food. They champ a few dry corn- 
stalks. There are no stables here for animals because there are 
no animals, and our horses fill the courtyard. I recall how 
shocked I once was when I saw soldiers, with their animals, 
billeted in the beautiful old buildings of the Temple of 
Heaven in Peiping. I now wondered if we would ever do 
that, if our necessity would ever be so great. We had certainly 
stabled our horses in the courtyard of some peasants' homes. 
The comfort was that the peasants made us welcome and saw 
nothing unusual in it. The only food they had in their houses 



BATTLES AND RAIDS 

was millet, squash, and garlic. They had no salt, no fat of any 
kind, and it is doubtful if they had ever tasted sugar. A 
peasant woman and her husband in one of the houses were 
searching for something while I was in their place. It was 
something they had stuck in the mud wall and they could 
not find it. Their hands carefully felt over every inch of one 
wall. Finally they found it it was a needle. The woman of 
the house owned a needle! I looked at it It was homemade, 
big and coarse, but to have made such a thing was an achieve- 
ment. From my breast pocket lapel I drew forth a fine needle 
and presented it to the woman. It was a great present, and she 
called in the woman next door to show it to her. I gave that 
woman a needle also. And so I made friends. They insisted 
that I share their millet for breakfast, and when we left the 
place, they all took us to the outskirts of the village and 
pointed out the road to us. And so we walked across the 
frozen earth, over the grass stiff with frost, to our General 
Headquarters. 



Traveling with the .Headquarters Staff of 
the Eighth Route Army 



General Headquarters of the Eighth -Route Army 

November g t 1937 

THIS whole region is being organized into Partisan groups. 
Four li in one direction from our headquarters is a town 
where there are three hundred Partisans, and five li away are 
two hundred miners from Yangchiian. I walked to that vil- 
lage with my guards to take pictures of the miners. Our army 
has given them uniforms, shoes, and stockings. They have 
their own guns. They are of all ages, though the youngest is 
perhaps eighteen and carries only a big sword. The others 
are mature men, most of them between the ages of twenty and 
thirty-five, with a few much older. They are real proletarians, 
serious-minded and determined, thoughtful, somewhat re- 
served yet friendly. 

A few li from here is a group of eighty Manchurian Volun- 
teers, all students from Peiping, whom I shall soon visit. 
All together in this region there are now two thousand Parti- 
sans, all organized within less than one month, and many of 
them since our headquarters came here. 

The Front Service Group, led by the well-known woman 
writer, Ting Ling, has arrived at General Headquarters. The 
[140] 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

group conducts all kinds of propaganda among the people 
and troops. They present plays the acting group is the best 
and largest. They teach the people patriotic songs, and they 
lecture. Some o them write stories of their experiences. 

Ting Ling tells us many stories of the experiences the group 
had on their way from North Shensi Province, up the railway 
to Taiyiian and then down into Eastern Shansi. They have 
seven donkeys to carry their bedding rolls. All the rest of their 
baggage they carry themselves. They have no riding animals 
at all. They go from village to village, giving plays. They 
have been bombed by Japanese planes, and they have spoken 
to thousands of people calling upon them to organize and arm 
themselves. 

The news that reaches us from the outside world is most 
fragmentary. We know that the Japanese have pushed for- 
ward from Sinkow in North Shansi. The Chinese troops 
fighting there retreated. We have reports from Ho Lung's 
forces in that region that large numbers of rifles, machine 
guns, ammunition of every kind were left behind, but by 
whom they do not know. At any rate, the Eighth Route Army 
recovered the weapons and supplies. From Ho Lung's head- 
quarters come frequent reports also of daily small victories 
of the capture of Japanese trucks, of the destruction of trucks, 
of the killing of a hundred Japanese here and another hun- 
dred there. But the withdrawal of the main body of the 
Eighth Route Army from that region to the eastern front 
weakened the northern front. Only one unit of the Eighth 
Route Army was left there and, split up into small units and 
fighting over a vast region, it is impossible to expect every- 
thing of it. The peasant Partisans, not more than a month 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

organized and trained, number ten thousand there now; still 
that is not enough, and not half of them have rifles. From 
over the mountains toward the front we just left, there is 
daily fighting, but over a broad area. The Japanese are learn- 
ing the Eighth Route Army tactics! The Eighth Route Army 
has been getting in the rear of the enemy, and the enemy has 
been trying to get in the rear of it! The Japanese dare not use 
small units as we do, but move in big columns. But ten 
thousand of them pushed their way through the valley by 
Kwangyangchen, and the Eighth Route had to move men 
constantly to halt them. No big decisive battle is being fought 
in that region, but both sides have lost men. The Eighth Route 
has not had many killed, but many have been wounded. 

News has come to us of the fighting around Yiitze, of the 
Japanese attempt to encircle Taiyiian, and of their daily bom- 
bardment of Taiyiian by squadrons of airplanes. The city is 
in ruins. It is deserted only a few people remain. There are 
a few newspaper reporters there, but they cannot even buy 
food enough to keep themselves alive. Jen Peh-si told us today 
that if we could get more men and some decent weapons we 
could still save Taiyiian. 

But Amoy is invaded by the Japanese and they are begin- 
ning a campaign to occupy all Central and South China. In 
Nanking itself there is a pro-Japanese group that is advocat- 
ing "peace" with the Japanese. This means exactly what the 
Japanese have been trying to push through the formation of 
a puppet government of their henchmen in Nanking. There 
is a danger that this group may push through their policy. 

Here at headquarters, we have discussed the meeting of the 
members of the Nine Power Treaty. Just as they met, the 
Japanese began a new campaign for the occupation of Central 



TRAVELING WITH 8tH ROUTE ARMY 

and South China. We expect newspapers and magazines this 
week, but they will be weeks old. 

Tonight the Front Service Group gave a performance in 
the streets of the village. One of the gates leading into the city 
was transformed into a theater by the group. About six feet 
up from the ground they built a platform across the gateway, 
strung their red curtain across the stage, and announced a 
play. The street leading to the gate and the street running 
across it became filled with the townspeople and our men. 
The roofs of the houses were black with men. The light on 
the stage consisted of two ancient hanging lamps of iron. 

The group is really doing something fine! They have com- 
bined the old Chinese storyteller methods with modern theat- 
rical ideas. They have developed singers of news, much like 
the minstrels of the Middle Ages. These modern Chinese 
"minstrels" tell the stories of events and battles in song, ac- 
companying themselves with stringed instruments or drums 
and clappers. 

One of the players appeared before the curtain, a pair of 
small clappers in one hand, to keep the rhythm of his talk. 
He spoke in old ballad form, telling the ten principles of the 
Communist Party of China. He told them in verse and he 
developed and interpreted them, sometimes sending the au- 
dience into gales of laughter. In another "piece," a blind min- 
strel, with his musical instrument, appeared in the home of a 
family and sang them the news from all the fronts of China. 
He brought news, he said, from the Eighth Route Army, 
which was "the Chu-Mao, the Red Army of China." He 
brought news of the miner Partisans of Yangchiian, and he 
sang of their fighting against the Japanese. 

[i43l 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK. 

This evening two men from the village where Manchurian 
students are staying came over to headquarters to visit us. 
These students have come down from Taiyiian, walking all 
the way, seeking the headquarters of the Eighth Route Army. 
They heard it was over near the Hopei border, and they have 
had a big chase all over Eastern Shansi looking for us. They 
want to join the Eighth Route Army and fight the Japanese. 
I talked with the two men who came this evening, but I think 
they have no idea of what the Eighth Route Army is really 
like. These students are rich men, they are smartly clad, but 
they are politically more backward than the peasants. I asked 
them what they intended to do, and one of them remarked 
that "some will join this army and some will go into politics!" 
The remark sounded exactly like some American politician's 
speech. I asked the man where he had been educated, and he 
gave the name of an American institution. Really, American 
education leaves a deep mark on every man. Such men base 
their thoughts upon making money, upon opportunism and 
they lack even the basic elements of sincere political thought. 
They speak of "going into politics." Very well one month 
in the Eighth Route Army will teach them the meaning of 
the national struggle, of the problems of China and of their 
own ignorance in face of those problems. I wonder how many 
of these rich men's sons will remain in the Eighth Route 
Army for more than a month. Let them look at Li-po's feet, 
split open and bleeding from long marching, and they will 
see what an intellectual has to begin with. 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

Stfyvei, 'Eastern Shansi 
November zo, 1937 

We have news that Taiyiian fell to the Japanese today. Gen- 
eral Fu Tso-yi defended the city with six thousand of his 
troops. There is no news of General Fu or his men. We won- 
der if they have all been killed. General Yen Hsi-shan has 
only ten thousand men left. The rest of his army is finished. 
His property is gone. The Japanese rolled over his army, as 
they did over the Government armies that fought by positional 
warfare. The shells which the Japanese used at Sinkow to 
shell the Chinese positions were Chinese shells captured from 
General Yen's army. The main Japanese forces, more than 
twenty thousand, in the Kwangyangchen region where we 
have been, did not pass through the valley where the Eighth 
Route Army attacked. They made their way up paths north 
of the valley. They were accompanied by big guns and air- 
planes. The Eighth Route has none of these weapons. Not 
even one airplane was sent to help. 

And so, last night, Lin Piao and Liu Peh-cheng arrived at 
General Headquarters for a conference. Tomorrow we move 
again. The Eighth Route Army is distributing its forces anew. 
It has decided that it will never cross the Yellow River, but 
will remain to the end with the people of North China, or- 
ganizing and arming them, that it will remain until the 
Japanese are driven out. 

The Japanese occupied an empty city when they took Tai- 
yiian. There are eighty thousand men in that force and they 
are capturing the Tungpu railway and all the cities on its 
route. But the cities and surrounding regions are empty ol 
people. The Japanese are living off the country, looting, taking 
the crops. But they find no Chinese to help them. The Chinese 

[145] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

soldiers, whatever else may be said of them, have not sur- 
rendered to the Japanese. Some armies have often retreated 
with almost no fighting. But, unlike the Manchurian armies 
in 1931, they did not go over to the enemy or wait to be cap- 
tured. 

Today I visited the miner Partisans again. I talked with 
three miners who helped the Eighth Route Army fight the 
Japanese at Kwangyangchen. One of them told me his story. 
He was once a soldier in General Feng Yu-hsiang's army, 
and later became a miner in the Kailin mines at Tangshan, 
Hopei Province. The Japanese invasion left him unemployed 
and he found a job in the terrible coal mines at Tatung, 
North Shansi, where he worked for twenty to thirty cents a 
day and lived like a dog. When the Communist Party began 
organizing the men he was arrested and sentenced to twelve 
years in the Taiyiian prison. With the Japanese invasion and 
the building of the national front, he was released and was 
sent to Yangchuan, on the Chentai railway, to organize the 
miners there into Partisans. The mines were closed and but 
two hundred miners remained. He organized them into an 
armed Partisan group, along with the railway workers there. 
They blew up the railway as the Japanese advanced; they 
helped the Eighth Route Army blow up the railroad line at 
various other places, and finally they fought from November 
2nd to 4th at Kwangyangchen (southwest of Yangchuan) and 
helped the Eighth Route Army score its victory in the after- 
noon and night of November 4th. 

The Partisans have their families with them. Li-po talked 
with the old mother of one of the men. She is sixty-one years 
old, gray-haired, strong, militant. She told him that she had two 
sons, one of whom is a Partisan here and the other a Volunteer. 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

"Do not think of taking care of me," she told them. "Go and 
fight the enemy. I order you!" She is now with the elder son 
and is sewing and knitting socks for all the Partisans. She is, 
the mother of the whole group. 

As they came down from Yangchiian the miners saw the 
dead bodies of many slaughtered Chinese youth. In many 
places the Japanese had taken one, two or three men from 
each family and killed them; they had sometimes killed all 
the young men of a village. They roped them together and 
then split their heads open with swords, on the general theory 
that living Chinese particularly youth are "dangerous/' 
Many people, the miners said, merely watched the Japanese 
come. But now they have learned a bloody lesson. They know 
now what Japanese occupation means and they are fighting 
it. 

It was difficult to realize, except for the language, that I 
was talking to Chinese miners, and their wives, sisters and 
daughters. Some way or other, the miners of all countries look 
alike, move alike, have the same kind of hands into which 
coal dust is beaten or rubbed. There is a decision about them, 
a kind of grim attitude that is still friendly, and an intelli- 
gence that arouses respect. Their problems are almost the 
same, though the problems of the Chinese miners are greater 
and more difficult than those of Americans. They told of their 
miserable conditions of life, of their struggle to organize, and 
of imprisonment and torture. And yet, when the Japanese 
invasion began, they took up arms to defend their country. 
They have a great advantage, however, over the oppressed 
o other countries: they have the Eighth Route Army, an army 
of workers and peasants, to help them, to train them, to take 
them into its ranks. 

[147] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

We met groups of armed miners escorting more of their 
women to the rear. The women might have been the wives or 
daughters of American or European miners. Like their men, 
they were grim perhaps a bit more grim than the men. Their 
hair was a bit stringy about their faces, they stood firmly on 
their feet, and they sometimes propped their hands on their 
hips or folded them across their waists in front of them. 

I left the miners feeling once more that I am nothing but a 
writer, a mere onlooker. I look at their big, black-veined 
hands, at their cloth shoes worn down to their socks or bare 
feet, at their soiled shirts. I know there is no chance for me 
ever to know them and share their lives. I remain a teller of 
tales, a writer of things through which I have not lived. The 
real story of China can be told only by the Chinese workers 
and peasants themselves. Today that is impossible. I do not 
believe that my companions, Chinese though they are, can 
write the real story of the struggle of the Chinese people. They 
are true Chinese intellectuals, as removed from the life of the 
masses as I am. And one of them, Hsti Chuen, is first of all 
interested in "style." 

If you ask him about a book, he will tell you first of its style. 
Later on you can pry out of him something of the content. 
Li-po is more interested in content, it is true. But the life he 
lives is so hard now that he is often too weary to make use 
of his experiences. Later on he will become hardened to this 
life, I think. What I write is not the essence of the Chinese 
struggle for liberation. It is the record of an observer. 

'November 12, 1937 

We are moving south and west, from seventy to ninety li 
a day. This morning, as we left our place at dawn, we gave 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

"our" villages to the troops o Liu Peh-cheng, some of whom 
have moved here from the Chentai railway zone. They will 
occupy Eastern Shansi and will organize and arm the people, 
and with them fight the Japanese everywhere by Partisan war- 
fare. Other units of the Eighth Route Army remain in North- 
west and Northeast Shansi, Western Hopei Province, and 
extend up into Chahar and Suiyiian. And one force will oc- 
cupy Western Shansi and there organize and arm the people 
for protracted warfare. Today I passed Chen Ken, regimental 
commander. He walked with his troops, and he smiled a 
greeting, lifting a hand in salutation. He was passing through 
the streets of a village, his troops behind him. We were going 
the other way. The street was one mass of gray-blue men. It 
rumbled with the tramp of feet of men and animals, and with 
the clank of steel. Beyond the village were spruce forests that 
line the valleys in this region. They are bare of leaves and 
the frozen earth is covered with white frost. 

Later we halted to allow over three hundred horses, cap- 
tured from the Japanese, to pass us. Some of the animals are 
in good condition and carry heavy burdens captured from the 
enemy. But many are wrecks, sick, diseased, injured. Most of 
them are Manchurian horses which the Japanese took from 
the people. From their appearance it is clear that the Japanese 
Army has treated them brutally and has worked them nearly 
to death. My party has two of these horses now carrying our 
luggage, and they will fall dead any time. All the care in the 
world cannot save them. They carry only light burdens, but 
these are too heavy. 

In all the villages people gather to watch us pass. As we go 
southward we come into regions where the Eighth Route 
Army has never been before. When the news spread that an 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

army was coming, many of the people fled. Wherever we halt, 
our army holds meetings and explains what the Eighth Route 
Army is, what its principles are, and asks the people to bring 
back their families who will all be protected. 

Many people who fled have already returned to their 
homes. They have built mud and stone stoves by the roadside, 
with huge iron kettles of boiling water. Before these they have 
set tables with their best earthenware bowls filled with hot 
water. Each man has from ten to twenty bowls which he 
constantly fills and refills for us. Peasants stand by and hand 
us the bowls of water, offering them with both hands. It is a 
touching sight. Often we turn a corner and far down the road 
see clouds of steam. The people are waiting for us. In some 
places they have big vats of boiled millet. They accept no 
money, but give all they can. 

We travel over frozen roads and half-frozen rivers. And this 
evening we came to a village where the peasants in whose 
house my group had rooms were afraid of us. One room they 
kept for themselves, and in this all their women gathered. I 
got a glimpse of them through the door as one of the men 
brought us boiled water. But none of us could enter. We 
talked to the men and told them that they need have no fear 
of the Eighth Route Army. But our talk could not convince 
them. Tonight one of the men comes into our room and says 
he must sleep there, while another one sleeps in the next room. 
I ask why. One of my guards turns to the man and says, "You 
want to sleep here because you fear we will steal your things. 
But we are the army of workers and peasants. We steal noth- 
ing. We protect the people." 

He continues to talk, but the man remains skeptical. He 
will sell us no chickens, no eggs, no vegetables, because he 

[150] 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

thinks we will not pay. He will not rent us a mule or a donkey 
because he thinks they will never be returned. He has driven 
them to the hills. One of our guards urges him to rent one 
and come with us. He comes to me and says he will go, but 
it is only by force. We tell him we will do without his donkey 
or mule, though we are willing to pay in advance. 

How helpless the people are before their so-called "protec- 
tors"! What bitter experience lies back of this attitude. Yet 
this night, at sunset, men went through the village beating a 
pan and shouting, "Kai hwei! Kai hweil" (Meeting! Meet- 
ing!) Two men of this household remained behind to protect 
their women, and the others went to the meeting! Army men 
will remain here to organize Partisans. They also want the 
peasants to organize groups to help us transport our wounded 
into Shensi Province. In this work, Kang Keh-chin, the wife 
of Chu Teh, is very active. The older men and the younger 
boys will be organized in self-defense corps to protect their 
homes and villages, the younger men into Partisan groups. 

November 13, 7937 

It is bitterly cold and I can ride but a few minutes at a 
time. Our columns fill a broad gray valley with men and 
animals, blue-gray and ever moving. The hoofs of the horses 
make a sound of drumming like the distant roar of an ap- 
proaching airplane. Men sing as they march and, when the 
valley narrows, the world seems filled with music. 

When our animals ford the streams, the hair on their legs 
becomes frozen. 

I am exhausted and sleepy. I see the frozen earth and the 
rivers covered with a thin sheet of ice. The cold of the dawn 
seems burdensome. The singing of the army fails to move me. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

For I have lice! Last night I found one and felt others. I lay 
awake most of the night, startled by any movement of the 
blankets against me. I have always been filled with horror of 
lice. Once Ho Lung told me that I would never be an "old 
Red Army person" until I had had lice and the itch. I tried 
to argue that I had had detectives following me for years, and 
surely that was lice enough. But he seemed to think that was 
not enough. This morning I felt that I had been initiated into 
the army at last, and I became quite philosophical about them. 
Other people have them, why not I? 

Today we halted for rest for fully an hour. The Front 
Service Group was near us and some of them began to dance 
Chinese dances. The orchestra consisted of a mouth organ 
played by one of the group. Ting Ling and I then taught the 
Virginia Reel to about a dozen of the men standing about 
They threw off their packs and rifles and before long the road 
was a cloud of dust as they pranced back and forth, bowing 
to each other, going through the various movements. The 
mountains on either side echoed with their shouts and 
laughter, and the onlookers gathered in crowds, beating time 
with their hands. The "orchestra" was drowned completely. 

Then we were on the road again and at night reached 
Yushe, this place of rest. As we approached it, we passed 
between two high cliffs. Outlined against the sky on the very 
edge of one of the cliffs stood the dark forms of two long rows 
of men. They were Partisans who had gathered there to watch 
the passing of our army. We could see one man standing be- 
fore them, sometimes lifting his hand as he talked. 

Yushe is a hsien 6 town of a few thousand, with two long 

*Hsten T an administrative district somewhat similar to a county; "hsien 
town" is the county seat. 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

main streets. At the end of one is a large Confucian temple. 
There were big signs in the street calling people to a mass 
meeting in the Confucian temple, and soon hundreds of 
people, all of them armed, came marching in from a near-by 
town. One of these was a tall, strong young woman. In the 
little postoffice, the postmaster literally bubbled over with 
enthusiasm for Chu Teh and the Eighth Route Army. He 
had rushed out along the roads to meet the army and had 
talked in person to Chu Teh. He would never get over it, 
and he told us over and over again that Chu Teh and he 
walked side by side and that Chu Teh was just like any 
ordinary man, plain and simple and sincere. 

I turned the postoffice upside down by trying to send an 
air mail letter to Europe. A postal worker who was out look- 
ing at the army was called in for a conference. First they de- 
cided that there was no way to send the air mail letter; then 
they decided that there was but it would cost three dollars. 
Li-po, standing by my side, gasped as if giving up the ghost. 
He had never heard of a letter costing so much money and 
afterwards he muttered, "three dollars/' over and over. 

The postoffice unearthed three dollars' worth of stamps for 
the one letter, but then had only two dollars more of stamps 
to sell us. Afterwards the little postmaster came to the mass 
meeting looking for me, and, with touching eagerness, told 
me there was no air mail and the letter would cost only fifty 
cents. Li-po came up for air and the little postmaster was de- 
lighted at saving money for a "friend of China," as he eagerly 
told the audience about me. 

His desire to be friendly to a friend of China, and the same 
spirit in the people about me made me feel sad. But my sad- 
ness was brought to an end by the arrival of Chu Teh, with 

[153] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

two Japanese captives. The audience sang national songs, 
standing as Chu Teh passed down the aisle cleared for him. 
It was a sight to seeChu Teh, commander-in-chief of the 
Eighth Route Army, being enthusiastically welcomed by the 
Partisans of this and neighboring towns, by the town's police- 
men, by a company of the Shansi Army, by the local National 
Salvation Association, and the whole population. The school 
children stood together and their voices raised in singing were 
like hundreds of violins. 

It was nearly dark and Chu Teh's form was a gray outline. 
The Japanese captives sat at a table. The magistrate spoke 
briefly. Everyone knew the name of Chu Teh, he said. For 
many years they had heard of him. And now the whole town 
welcomed him. 

Chu Teh's voice is not very strong and often it did not 
reach the enure audience. But it is filled with the deepest sin- 
cerity, with a touch of sadness, and with love. Under the 
present difficult situation, he said, the Eighth Route Army 
was fortunate in having the masses to help it. 

"Our experience ia North Shansi," he said, "shows that if 
we have mass support and help, we can be victorious over the 
enemy invaders. The Eighth Route Army needs the help of 
the people, and the people need the help of the Eighth Route 
Army. They depend entirely on each other, and if they work 
and fight together, they can defeat Japanese airplanes, big 
guns and tanks. If the people are well organized and armed, 
they can help us destroy railways and highways so the armored 
cars, tanks and trucks of the enemy cannot pass." 

Chu Teh then gave a report on the fighting of the Eighth 
Route and other armies in various parts of Shansi Province, 
telling of the formation and arming of Partisan groups. 

[154] 



TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

"Our army, with the help of the people," he said, "has de- 
stroyed over one thousand military trucks and armored cars 
of the enemy, twenty-one airplanes (at Yenmenpao) ; we have 
killed over three thousand of the enemy in battle, and we have 
captured from the enemy over a thousand military horses, big 
guns, machine guns, rifles, great quantities of ammunition, 
clothing, and food. We have captured Japanese soldiers, two 
of whom sit here by my side. We have recovered many towns 
occupied by the enemy. 

"But this is not enough. We must fight again and again, 
and still again, until our country is free and no enemy soldiers 
are on our soil But we must have the help of the people 
and we must have the help of the Japanese masses also. It is 
only the Japanese militarists, landowners, and bankers, who 
want this war. . . . The Japanese masses do not want" . . . 

Here men in the crowd shouted, "Down with Japanese 
imperialism!" "Chinese and Japanese people, unite!" The 
audience took up the cries. 

Chu Teh continued, "It is not enough for you to admire the 
Eighth Route Army. You must now actively help it. For vic- 
tory, it is essential that we all have the conviction that we will 
be victorious. It is essential also that the people must know 
how to help our troops. You must know how to destroy roads 
and railways, armored cars, trucks, and tanks. You must know 
how to destroy completely all roads over which the Japanese 
can move their motorized columns. These roads must be 
turned into wheat and corn fields. No road must remain for 
the use of the enemy. 

"The Chinese people are many and the Japanese few. If 
our people arise, organize, and arm themselves, we can defeat 
the enemy. China is a poor country. In our situation, every 

['551 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

man with money must give it, men able to work must give 
their labor-power, those able to fight must fight. Some people 
will tell you that the Japanese have more money than we 
have. But we must remember that one airplane costs at least 
fifty thousand dollars. At Yenmenpao, in North Shansi, we 
destroyed twenty-one of these during one night. If we per- 
sistently destroy the Japanese and all their weapons, day by 
day, we will make them weaker and weaker and finally de- 
stroy them." 

He gave a report of the whole world situation, and the 
audience became so still that not a sound disturbed the voice 
speaking to them from the darkness which had now de- 
scended. He told them of the manifesto of the Japanese Com- 
munist Party, found in the pockets of some of the dead 
Japanese soldiers. This manifesto, he said, told the Japanese 
soldiers that the Chinese are not their enemies, but that their 
real enemies are the Japanese militarists. So China has the help 
of many countries and also of many Japanese people, he 
said. "With such help we people of China can and must go 
through defeat to victory." 

As Chu Teh's voice died away, the audience began singing 
a song of the national united front. When it was finished, the 
little Japanese radio worker from Osaka spoke. A murmur of 
astonishment went through the audience at the strange lan- 
guage pouring from his lips. When he had finished a Chinese 
translated: 

"I am a soldier, but I was also a worker. I was forced by our 
own militarists to come to China. I received an order of mobi- 
lization from our Ministry of War. I could not fight against 
it. So I reluctantly came to China. Only the Japanese milita- 
rists want this war the common people do not want it. We 

[156] 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

Japanese soldiers do not want it and we cannot get used to 
the life, the food and customs of a foreign country. 

"I never knew that the Chinese people were so kind until 
I was captured by the Eighth Route Army. The men of this 
army are kinder to me than were our own Japanese soldiers. 
In the future I want to stand side by side with the Chinese 
people to fight our own militarists." 

As the Japanese ceased speaking, a medley of confused 
voices rose higher and higher. One voice in the audience 
shouted, "Chinese and Japanese people unite!" But other 
voices cried, "Kill him! Kill him!" With the shout "Kill him!" 
an Eighth Route Army man sprang to the platform. 

"No!" he shouted. "No, that is wrong!" The audience lis- 
tened. "No," the man shouted again. "This man is not to 
blame for this war. Japanese soldiers are not the criminals. It 
is the Japanese militarists who are the criminals, who want 
to invade and subject China. This man is a worker like our- 
selves. He is our brother. We must be kind to him. Our 
Eighth Route Army does not kill or injure captives. We ex- 
plain to them, teach them if they do not know why they were 
forced to wage war on us. Large numbers of the Japanese 
people are against this war. We have taken diaries from the 
pockets of captives and of dead soldiers. Those diaries are 
filled with hatred of this war, and with longing for home and 
family. In the pockets of some of the dead we found mani- 
festos of the Japanese Communist Party, calling upon the 
Japanese soldiers to turn their rifles on their own militarists, 
to refuse to kill Chinese who are their own brothers. Com- 
rades, brothers, listen to me: it is a terrible thing that we have 
perhaps been killing our own comrades! We can do nothing 
else. We must defend our country. We have issued many 

[157] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

manifestos to the Japanese soldiers, calling upon them to join 
us, their Chinese brothers, in bringing this war to an end." 

The audience listened breathlessly. The Japanese captives 
stood by the table, two dark figures in the gray night. Then 
the audience responded deeply to the Eighth Route Army 
speaker, "Long live the Japanese workers and peasants! Long 
live the united Chinese and Japanese people!" they cried. 

The two Japanese captives turned their faces to the audience 
and listened as a Chinese told them in their own language 
what was being said. One of the men is a company com- 
mander and since the day he was captured he has slowly 
changed. He is always astonished at the kind treatment given 
him, and now his face lost its harsh, merciless lines. The little 
worker's face was serious and firm. He had taken a step of 
historic importance and it was clear he would not turn back. 

Now lanterns appeared on the long, stone platform before 
the Confucian temple. A deep red curtain was thrown across 
it, and the Front Service Group presented a Japanese play. 
Then came two short acts on Chinese themes. An actor in 
the part of a blind "minstrel" felt his way across the stage, a 
ragged child guiding him, his long-necked lute in his hand. 
On a stone drum he beat a few taps, then raised his instru- 
ment and swept the strings with his long fingers. 

"I bring you news from all the fronts," he sang, "from 
Shanghai and Amoy, from Tientsin and Peiping, from Ta- 
tung and Suiyiian. I bring you news of the Eighth Route 
Army which swarms over all Shansi, and fights in Hopei and 
Chahar. I bring you news of the Partisans and of the Volun- 
teers." 

"Cling-i-ti-cling! cling-i-ti-cling!" sounded the little stone 
drum as a litde ragged boy, with the minstrel, tapped its hard 

[158] 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

white surface. The long fingers of the minstrel swept the 
lute strings, as he sang a ballad of news from all the fronts 
in China's war of liberation. 

Tonight the Political Department of the army published 
two small handbills and one longer manifesto for the Japanese 
soldiers in the army of invasion. All are in the Japanese lan- 
guage. One is a few inches square and reads: 

"We, the Eighth Route Army, are the comrades of the Japanese 
working people. We do not kill Japanese captives. We arc kind 
to captives. Come over to us, brothers. We want to shake your 
hands. The fighters and commanders of the Eighth Route 
Army/' 

The longer manifesto is signed by Chu Teh and Peng Teh- 
hwei, and reads: 

To the Japanese soldiers! 

Perhaps you have already heard the name of the Chinese Red 
Army. Our Eighth Route Army is the Red Army. As Japanese 
reports say, it is also the Communist Army. 

Today we use our guns to fight with you on the battlefield. 
This is unfortunate. We, both you and our own army, are work- 
ers and peasants. You were forced by your militarists to put on 
military uniforms, to leave your families and your native land 
and to come to the Chinese battlefield. We, Chinese workers and 
peasants, today stand on the battlefield against you. We must fight 
the Japanese militarist invasion, defend Chinese territory and the 
interests of the Chinese people. We are not enemies of the Japa- 
nese workers and peasants, nor of the whole Japanese people. At 
all times we are ready to shake hands and unite with the Japanese 
workers and peasants. Japanese soldiers, please think this over! 

[159] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

You Japanese workers and peasants were sent to China to be 
killed as victims of your own militarists. What have you to gain 
from this? You will gam nothing! It is Japanese soldiers workers 
and peasants who die in this war, and it is Japanese capitalists, 
landlords and bankers who gain from it. It is your ruling classes 
who will increase their power by oppressing Chinese workers and 
peasants. If the Japanese militarists are defeated by the Chinese, 
they will be destroyed by the Japanese workers and peasants who 
will arise hi revolt. The Japanese masses will then be free, and you 
will be able to return quickly to your homes and rejoin your fami- 
lies. You can then unite with the workers and peasants in your 
own country and fight for your own interests. 

Japanese soldiers, turn your rifles on your own militarists and 
unite with us! Fight for the freedom of the Japanese people, and 
fight for the freedom of the Chinese people. Unite! Today it is 
the Chinese and Japanese workers and peasants who die on the 
battlefield. We must stop this slaughter. We must firmly unite. 

Japanese soldiers! It is senseless to be victims. The workers and 
peasants of your country do not want to kill their Chinese brothers. 
The workers and peasants of the whole world do not want you 
to fight the Chinese people. If you continue to fight the Chinese 
people, the workers and peasants of the whole world will hate you. 
You must think of this. 

The Chinese troops who fight you are fighting for the freedom 
of China and against the invasion of Japanese Fascism. If we die 
in such a cause, it is a glory. The whole world will despise the 
Japanese workers and peasants and admire the Chinese. The peo- 
ple of the whole world will support us. 

Japanese soldiers! Come over to us. We will be kind to you. 
We will not kill you. We will welcome you. We are all brothers. 
We must fight together against Japanese imperialism. If you want 
to return to your homes, we will make this possible for you. If you 
do not shoot first, we will not shoot you. We do not even want 
to wound you, our own Japanese brothers. Think of this! 
[160] 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

Japanese soldiers! Shout with us: 

Do not die for Japanese militarism! 

Do not destroy your useful bodies for a useless class. Go home, 
unite with the workers and peasants of your country and revolt! 

Japanese and Chinese soldiers, unite and stop this war 1 

Japanese soldiers, support the movement of freedom of the 
Chinese people! 

Do not kill your brothers, the Chinese people! 

Down with Japanese imperialism! 

Long live the freedom of the Japanese workers and peasants! 

On the walls of Yushe appear official notices, signed by Lin 
Piao. A crowd of young men stand about them, and one reads 
aloud. Groups of men discuss the notice, then return to read 
it again. A new military and political training school, with 
six-month courses, is being founded next month in Western 
Shansi. There will be room for one thousand or fifteen hun- 
dred men. Examinations will be held in Wusiang, a town 
some sixty li to the south of here, within the next few days. 
Men are asked to go at once to Wusiang for the examinations. 
The subjects to be taught in the new school are: 

Military: Partisan warfare; artillery warfare; topography; 
the science of arms. 

Political: Common sense of social science; political work; 
the Sino-Japanese problem; problems of the Chinese struggle 
for liberation. 

November 14* 1937 

We are going toward Wusiang. It is a sunny day and we do 
not all move together, for fear of airplane raids. A group of 
six young commanders walk in front of me and I hear them 
talking about "salaries" in the Eighth Route Army. Chu Teh's 

[161] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

monthly "salary" is six dollars, and Peng Teh-hwei's is five! 
The company commanders receive two each. Chu Teh has a 
new horse captured from the Japanese. It is as big as a house 
and very strong. 

We leave the six men at a village and stop for rest on a 
bench outside one of the houses. Men come out and ask us 
if we wish something to eat. We go through a courtyard and 
into a room with the usual f(ang extending along one side 
of the room. We agree to eat something if we can pay, but 
we will not accept unless we can pay. Soon a dozen men are 
gathered in the room talking to us about the Eighth Route 
Army. General Tang En-po's Thirteenth Army passed this 
way a few days ago, they tell us. There were thousands of 
them and it took them four or five days to pass. On the walls 
they pasted printed posters which read, "Help the army with 
food and animals, with spies and guards." Tang En-po has 
one of the best armies of the Central Government at Nanking. 
They fought at Nankow Pass heroically. 

The men about us are of all kinds. One is an old farm 
laborer who earns twenty Chinese dollars a year. He lives in 
the home of the landlord for whom he works. He gets his 
food, but he must buy his clothing himself. He is not married 
he has never earned enough money to marry. 

A number of other men own twenty or thirty mao of land 
(one acre is six mao). It is not enough to support a man, a 
wife, and two children. In order to live, the peasants borrow 
money. Some are in debt one hundred dollars, and one seven 
hundred. Interest on money ranges from two to ten per cent 
a month, and if they cannot pay it they sell whatever they 
have a donkey, a horse or a daughter or a mao of land. Men 
without land rent from some of the big landlords, who often 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

own one thousand or more mao. A tenant pays two-thirds 
of the crop as rent this is the universal custom in this region, 
they say. Of every ten peasants in this region, eight own no 
land at all, but rent from the landlords. 

We talk with one man after another. One man rents one 
hundred mao. There are ten people in his family and they all 
work on the land. In this poor region, a family of ten needs a 
hundred mao of land. If a man owns land, he pays thirty 
cents a mao as land tax, and there are three other regular 
taxes, and a number of irregular taxes. There are taxes to pay 
if you sell a donkey or a pig, there is transportation tax, a pro- 
duction tax, an import and export tax, and a tax on every 
animal slaughtered for food. Peasants do not object to the land 
tax, they say, but the many irregular taxes suddenly loaded 
on them are a burden. In this village there are only three or 
four opium smokers. 

We spend two hours talking to the peasants about their 
lives and problems, so that the half moon is high in the skies 
when we finally approach Wusiang. We move along narrow 
stone paths that wind around barren hills bordering a broad 
valley filled entirely by a meandering stream called the Kwei 
Ho. At least the peasants call the river the Kwei Ho, though 
their names are nearly always different from any to be found 
on the map. 

As we came nearer to the place of our night's rest, we 
passed through narrow dirt streets of villages that seemed to 
be as ancient as China, and all the more ancient because of the 
light of the moon upon a few tiled temple ixx>s. 

The streets were narrow and deeply rutted, and only on 
steep hills were they paved widx cobblestones. Around the 
villages, the roads and paths, were stretches of what appeared 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

in the moonlight to be white sand but which were instead en- 
tirely of fine loess dust. These stretches o white "sand" were 
marked by the passing of thousands of feet of our army. Here, 
I thought, as we crossed them, is something indescribably 
magnificent; here trod the feet of the Chinese people strug- 
gling in one of the greatest movements of human history a 
movement for the liberation of the poor and oppressed, the 
peasants and workers. It is a struggle that will last a long, long 
time. But these pioneers, these vanguards, often ragged, bare- 
foot and badly armed, are all the more magnificent, all the 
more significant because they have arisen from the depths of 
actual serfdom. Here their feet passed through the narrow 
streets, in the shadows of the temples and ancient crooked 
pine trees. Those mud houses of the people have crumbled a 
thousand times and a thousand times been rebuilt, and the 
endless round of suffering of their inhabitants continued 
until this army passed. After this, these villages will never be 
quite the same; the people will never be content to live as they 
and their ancestors before them have lived. 

We were dead tired when we reached our village, but still 
we had work to do. And without waiting to eat, Li-po and I 
rode back to another village to interview Peng Teh-hwei, and 
to ask him what the strategy and tactics of the army would 
be in the future. We had supper in headquarters and spent 
hours in general talk of the international and national situa- 
tion. 

The Eighth Route Army, Peng said, would organize and 
arm the people of Shansi and Hopei Provinces and of all 
North China. Whatever happens, this army will not leave 
the people of North China, will not cross the Yellow River, 
but will fight to the end. Even if the Japanese occupy and 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

hold all the big cities and the railways, still the Eighth Route 
Army, with the armed people, will destroy all railways and 
roads, will harass and tire the enemy, will wage relendess 
Partisan warfare upon them so that wherever they step, 
whether on hill or in valley, they will meet some man or 
woman, or some groups to attack them. The organization and 
arming of the people are proceeding with amazing speed, 
Peng said. The Eighth Route Army has organized twenty 
thousand men into Partisan units connected with the army 
in the past six weeks. Only about half of them have arms at 
present. In Western Hopei Province and in Chahar^ the 
Eighth Route Army units have already met and united with 
two Volunteer groups. These Volunteers are workers, peas- 
ants, students, who have arisen and captured arms. They are 
the core of new armies of the Chinese people, and they are 
of an entirely different character from the regular Chinese 
armies* They are Volunteers, coming from the heart of the 
people. 

We returned to our own village late at night, sentinels chal- 
lenging us regularly as we rode along the roads. I was so 
weary that I dozed in the saddle. But my horse was very wise. 
He stopped, bewildered, a number of times and I awoke to 
find him* standing at crossroads not knowing which way to 
go. I waited to see if he would remember. He moved slowly 
forward each time on the right road. When we reached the 
village the problem was still greater, for he had been over this 
road but twice. I did not know the exact street myself. But 
suddenly he neighed so loudly that he literally split the air, 
and took off down a side street direcdy for our house. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

November 15, 79^7 

We are moving steadily toward a range of blue mountains, 
the Luliangshan, to the west. One month ago I traveled along 
the western side of those mountains, on the way to Taiyiian. 
It seems ages since that time. The earth was beautiful over 
there, the crops golden, and the sun glinted on the ice and 
snow on the highest peaks. We must cross those mountains 
this week. The snow lies in patches and they look bleak and 
cold. 

We pass through huge loess hills, carved in giant square 
chunks that arise in terraces. They remind me of the Indian 
pueblos of southwestern America. Here many people have 
dug caves in the loess hillsides and transformed them into 
homes! But in most places the people have villages of mud 
and stone. Sometimes the paths or roads run between loess 
cliffs that arise twenty to thirty feet on either side of us. We 
can see nothing but the yellow earth. Often we move in 
parallel lines, and the drumming of the hoofs of our animals 
and of the feet of thousands of men sounds like the distant 
roar of an airplane. But no airplanes bother us these days. As 
Peng Teh-hwei said yesterday, "The Eighth Route Army is 
like the fish, and the people like the water. We move amongst 
the people, and the Japanese learn nothing about us. We have 
no traitors in our ranks." 

It is astounding, this instinctive honesty of the Chinese 
people. Thousands upon thousands of our troops move here 
and there, calling mass meetings, posting a thousand procla- 
mations and posters, leaving the hillsides and walls of towns 
covered with countless slogans. Along the route of our march 
are little bits of white paper with signs which we can follow 
if we lag behind or are in doubt about the route. One would 
[166] 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

think an enemy could find us any day. But the enemy never 
does. Even its myriad airplanes do not know where to look, 
and even i they do they see nothing. 

Today we passed many groups of strong, young peasants, 
and also some older men, each with a long pole and a 
rope. We asked them where they came from and where they 
were going and they said they were going to carry back the 
wounded of the Eighth Route Army. The army had held 
meetings in their villages, they said, and called for volunteers 
to transport the wounded into North Shensi Province. So the 
peasants went home and got their poles and ropes and set off 
for some distant town behind us. No Eighth Route Army men 
were with them. They were merely told where the wounded 
were, and they set off across country for them. 

Today we passed towns built on high blocks of loess. Across 
the gorge separating two loess hills In one town stretched a 
beautiful stone bridge. It was black with lines of people 
watching us pass. From behind them came the sounds of 
thousands of voices singing a patriotic song. Our marchers 
heard it, and when the voices died away, the army sang in 
reply. They continued to march, picking their way over the 
stony swamp path. Here the Chinese people were singing to 
other groups of Chinese people whose voices they could hear 
but whom they could not see. I learned later that the voices 
of the hidden singers in the town came from the big military 
school moved from Taiyiian a few days ago. There are over 
a thousand men in the school, and they were singing to greet 
Chu Teh and Jen Pelvsi as they entered the town to speak to 
them. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK. 

Kuochen 
November 16, 19-57 

We are marching today in a drizzling rain that penetrates 
everything and turns the loess dust into slippery mud. On 
either side of the paths the winter wheat is green. 

A part of the ii5th Division moves parallel with us today, 
in a valley to the left. Their path crosses ours at times, and we 
halt to allow them to pass. In their ranks are many new volun- 
teers, peasants or workers or students. They are in ordinary 
clothing, some carrying quilts over their shoulders, some noth- 
ing at all. A few have rifles, but most are still unarmed. 

Near the end of the day we passed through a village in 
which one of Lin Piao's units was billeted for the night. One 
of the men came running from a building, shouting to me. 
He was my friend, the wounded soldier from the i3th Army 
of Tang En-po, who rode in the same box car with me to 
Taiyiian a month ago. Recovered from his wounds suffered 
at Nankow Pass where he was a machine-gunner, he was re- 
leased from the Kaifeng hospital and ordered to return to his 
army. He was given his army papers and a military pass for 
the railway, but no money for food. He had no blanket and 
at night he had squatted and stood alternately trying to sleep 
and to keep warm. He was going back to his army, he had 
said, but he would rather join the Eighth Route Army. I shall 
never forget that night I awoke in the box car and heard voices 
in the moonlight that streamed in through the open door, 
with this soldier talking in the North China dialect as clear 
and strong as a bell. 

We had taken him with us to the local office of the Eighth 
Route Army in Taiyiian and introduced him to the men in 
charge. Within five minutes he had become a member of the 
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TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

army. My companions gave him a little money, I gave him a 
blanket and some fruit, and he was put in an Eighth Route 
Army truck and sent to the front. He had but one fear: that 
somewhere out of the ether would step General Tang En-po, 
commander of the i3th Army, stop the truck, pick him out 
and tell him to return to the i3th Army. 

Now he ran by the side of my horse and I bent down and 
held his hands in one of mine. His speech ran swiftly in his 
excitement as swift as a river through these mountain valleys. 
He was telling me something, saying he was corning to our 
village, but I could not understand all he said. I was in a 
column moving forward and I was weary from riding and 
slithering for miles through mud. All evening I waited, hop- 
ing he would come. But he did not. He is now one of the 
ii5th Division of the Eighth Route Army and he must have 
fought at Kwangyangchen. In the future I shall watch him. 
Today he was filled with joy. I wonder what he has passed 
through this past month. 

Today we also saw an amusing and yet a moving sight A 
man at headquarters has injured his leg and we have no 
stretcher. Two peasants from a village brought out a big round 
basket, filled the bottom with straw, then extended heavy 
ropes beneath the basket and connected the upper ends to a 
long pole. They set the man in the basket, just as they carry 
chickens or pigs to market, got under the poles, and carried 
him along with us. We smiled and they smiled back and said, 
"It will do!" The injured man laughed through his pain. 



[169] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Chungytian 
November ij, 7937 

Today we crossed one of the foothills of the Luliangshan 
range, in a downpour of rain. As we came into the district 
town of Chungyiian thousands of the townspeople were on 
the streets with banners to welcome us. It was mid-day and 
I heard the beating of gongs and the shouts of "fyi hwei! \ai 
hwet!" There was the usual meeting to welcome the Eighth 
Route Army such as most district towns call, and Chu Teh 
was again to be the speaker. I left a group of our men in a 
little restaurant and went to the meeting for a few minutes. 
There was Chu Teh, standing in the entrance to an old tem- 
ple, talking to a crowd of people, most of them Partisans and 
members of the National Salvation Association or other pa- 
triotic groups. This town has big patriotic organizations and 
even the two waiters in the litde restaurant were members 
of it and knew all about the Eighth Route Army. One knew 
all about me, for he had read an article of mine in a Taiyiian 
paper! "I know you," he said, and closed one hand and stuck 
his thumb in the air. 7 

Chu Teh was speaking today as I have never heard him 
speak before. He was perhaps moved by the banners in the 
streets, the slogans of welcome, and the crowds that hung onto 
every word he uttered. His voice, his speech, his manner, ex- 
pressed deep love of the people. He was talking from his heart. 
The people bent toward him, their eyes never leaving his face* 
They missed not one word he uttered. It was a scene and 
about the scene there was an atmosphere which it is im- 
possible to describe in words. There are some things in life 
which we always remember, which recur to our minds time 

7 A gesture expressing the highest approval 

[ I7 o] 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

and again, but which words cannot describe. Words are not 
fine enough, not delicate, not ethereal enough. Such scenes 
must be seen and felt to be understood. Perhaps words, com- 
bined with music, could express something I mean. Such was 
the meeting I saw today, as the rain poured on faces lifted 
toward Chu Teh. 

After the meeting my guards and I bought some dry round 
pancakes and started off for this village. As we slid and 
pushed each other up the slippery mountain path, we found 
one of our troopers lying sick by the pathway with what 
seemed to be acute appendicitis. We loaded him on my horse 
and one of my guards hurried on ahead to the village with 
him. There is a problem! We cannot operate, and we have no 
doctor only a nurse. The doctors are with the wounded hun- 
dreds of li away* I do not know what has been done with 
this sick man. We left him with the nurse in headquarters. 

The hill of loess which we climbed today was ten li from 
base to summit, and then we literally slid downhill another 
ten li. When we reached the valley below, Chu Teh caught 
up with us and walked with us the rest of the way. Nearing 
this village we heard the beating of gongs and the usual shouts 
of "f(ai hweil fat htvei!" The peasants were being called to 
a mass meeting by our army. But some of them halted in their 
tracks and others came running to see the walking circus. 
That was 1. 1 am the only foreigner they have ever seen. And, 
to my constant irritation and occasional amusement, they all 
tell each other that I am a Japanese captive. I spend what 
seems all my time telling them I am not, and now I can speak 
perfect Chinese when I tell them this. Today I was weary of 
repeating it. So today I varied my reply. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

"No," I said, "I am not a Japanese captive. That man right 
there is the Japanese captive." 

I turned and pointed to Chu Teh. The crowd of people 
turned their gaze on Chu Teh, and crowded nearer. But some 
Eighth Route Army men among them betrayed us and told 
them he was the commander-in-chief of the Eighth Route 
Army. This amused the people very much and the joke passed 
along the streets so that we entered the village on a wave o 
laughter. 

Once earlier today I assured a crowd of villagers that I was 
not a Japanese captive. I told them that my guard, Kuo Shen- 
hwa, behind me, was a captive. He wears a Japanese overcoat 
with a hood and he is a strange-looking chap at best. All the 
people pointed at him and told each other that he was a Jap- 
anese captive. He did not deny it. But he settled the question 
most dramatically. 

"Ma-di-feA-pi!" he bellowed at a peasant, pointing at him. 
This classic Asiatic curse about the other fellow's mother is 
really marvelous. It explains everything, clarifies an issue, set- 
tles doubtful questions, releases resentment, and generally 
clears the atmosphere. The minute Kuo Shen-hwa uttered it 
all the villagers understood that they had made a bad mistake. 

Wuyangchen 
November 20, 1937 

It is late afternoon and I have walked fully seventy li. Sev- 
enty li are only twenty-three miles but like the wound in 
Mercutio's heart it may not be great but it is enough. We re- 
mained in Chungyichen for two days and two nights, hoping 
that the snow storm would come to an end. The snow fell 
steadily and it was a wet snow that turned the roads and paths 



TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

into slippery mud wherever one stepped. But we had to cross 
the mountain range and the Tungpu railway and reach our 
new headquarters. So today we crossed the Luliangshan 
mountains. We did not cross the highest peaks, but chose the 
easiest paths. One mountain was fifteen li (5 miles) from base 
to summit, and the same down, and the next mountain was 
still higher by three miles. It was a hard task, at least for some 
of us. But still it was an interesting and beautiful day in many 
respects. In sheltered valleys or near high cliffs were many 
spruce trees that had not yet lost their green needles. In this 
snow storm now the green needles had fallen and lay on the 
white carpet of snow. I never knew they could be so beautiful. 

The Luliangshan mountains are covered with thin forests 
of pine trees, many of them quite young and very green. Each 
branch, each bunch of needles, each needle carried its little 
burden of white snow. The snow lay six inches to a foot deep 
in many places. Often we could not see across a ravine through 
the dense fall of snow. Sometimes when we emerged on high 
places a fierce wind struck us in the face. Our animals heaved 
and struggled and men got behind them, put their hands 
against their rumps, and shoved. Some animals went down 
time and again and had to be unloaded and reloaded. And be- 
cause I did not wish to break my neck, I walked the whole 
way. 

The snow mingled with the dust and dirt and made a thick 
mud that sucked the feet into it, making each step a struggle. 
Mud poured up over the tops of tny shoes and filled them. At 
first this was a terrible problem. But soon I accepted it as I 
accepted lice when I had them a few days ago. I got rid of the 
lice and I could get rid of the mud at the end of the day. But, 
above all, I accepted the situation because of the men about 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

me. Many of the fighters of the army walked in their bare 
feet, right through the mud and snow. They had no stockings 
at all. I saw these barefoot men wade frozen streams, breaking 
the ice with their feet. They were laden with packs and 
weapons, and some of them with an additional shovel or pick. 
And yet they marched on through the driving snow and the 
fierce winds. 

From the moment we began to move this morning to the 
end of the day, I heard men singing as they marched. They 
sang in groups a company of infantrymen here, a company 
there. And sometimes the Front Service Group sang. Why 
then should I object to shoes full of freezing, oozing mud? 
At least I have shoes and socks. 

Today as we moved over the mountains I found a flute 
player. It was an infantryman in a column behind me. He 
carried his pack and rifle over his shoulders, and wore a cap- 
tured Japanese steel helmet. His head was bent down as he 
played his flute and I could not see his face. He was playing 
to himself and the music was very sweet. It was some gentle 
folk melody that spoke of distant villages, of flowers and trees 
and running streams and perhaps of love. The men before 
and after him walked in silence as he played. 

Later I heard the same melody. I was in the rear and the 
infantryman seemed to be ahead of me. The snow hid him 
from me, but through the snow storm the sweet notes of the 
flute came trilling, bearing their own burden of beautiful 
memories. What memories did this melody call up in the mind 
of the player? Perhaps of some southern village of China, 
perhaps some village of Szechwan. But now all this is only a 
memory to be recalled in freezing snow storms. I have talked 
with many of the men of this army of the Chinese people whose 

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TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

families were wiped out in the ten years of civil warfare. I 
have talked with men who had five or six brothers, all of them 
killed in battle, and their fathers, mothers, and wives slaugh- 
tered. Often these men had no homes to speak of, for they 
were poor tenant farmers, agricultural laborers, homeless, ex- 
ploited workers whose families were dispersed to every part 
of the country. So the melody of the flute is perhaps but a 
stream of folk culture that runs through the Chinese people 
a stream which can one day become big and broad, clear and 
inspiring. In the Chinese masses this stream of culture con- 
tinues to run unspoiled by the imitation of Western "civiliza- 
tion" as in Shanghai where many middle-class Chinese have 
no knowledge of nor respect for the native culture of the 
people. 

By my side walked one of my guards, singing as he led my 
pony. He often sings to himself as he walks. I think he knows 
all the songs of the Eighth Route Army and all the folksongs 
of China. He learns every new melody he hears. When he 
wakes in the morning he sings a few lines, and throughout the 
day and until he falls asleep he sings as naturally as he 
breathes. Yet if you let him know you are listening, he be- 
comes silent and shy. 

Tonight we sleep in the room of a village felt-maker. He 
loaned us beautiful big felt pads to cover the cold J(ang on 
which we sleep. But we are certain there are lice in the l(ang f 
for the little felt-maker is very poor, the %'ang is miserable, 
and I imagine a thousand soldiers have slept on it in passing 
this way. The little felt-maker knows nothing of the Eighth 
Route Army, nothing of its principles, but he listens with in- 
terest. But we are too weary to talk much. We build a fire of 
pine branches in the center of the room on the stone floor, 

[175] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

wash the mud from our feet and shoes, try to warm ourselves, 
and prepare for a shivering cold night. 

A village of unknown name 
November 21, 1937 

This is the first time I have slept through most of the night 
for many weeks. Once in the night I thought the day had 
come, and rose to see. The moon was nearly full and was 
shining on the earth covered with its white blanket of snow. 
It was a scene of indescribable loveliness. The marks of pov- 
erty on this poor village were obliterated and the buildings 
were patches of shining white roofs and of dark, somber 
shadows that hid I do not know how many destinies. I re- 
turned to the cold fang to dream of the ruins of Pompeii. 
For hours it seemed to me I visited the streets and buildings 
of this ancient city. In the ruins I found pieces of old ivory 
of many shapes and sizes, and I found bronzeware of great 
beauty. I was gazing down into a dark pit filled with relics 
when, aroused by the bugle call, I awoke to a new day. It was 
four in the morning; we would be on the road soon, but I 
lay considering my dream. I had been wandering through the 
"highways and byways" of my own existence as I slept. It is 
hardly encouraging to know that your subconscious mind re- 
gards you as an old ruined city filled with ancient relics, and 
with but few things worth salvaging. 

*1 have dreamed of Pompeii/* I told my companions. 

They looked at me blankly. Then one of them said, "Oh 
yes, I saw that moving picture in Shanghai." 

"No, I mean the real Pompeii, not an American movie," I 
protested. 

The other companion asked what Pompeii was. We told 

[176] 



TRAVELING WITH SlH ROUTE ARMY 

him and while we ate millet and cabbage for breakfast we 
talked of the Pompeii that once was and of what can be seen 
and learned of its civilization today. This led us to the Chou 
and Han dynasties of China and I told them of my visit to the 
Chou and Han tombs, as great as the Egyptian pyramids, 
northwest of Sian; and of the tomb of Chin Shih Hwang Ti, 
builder of the Great Wall of China, and of what we know 
of its contents. 

I have passionate likes and dislikes, even of historic per- 
sonages, and Chin Shih Hwang Ti is my favorite figure in 
Chinese history. For his day he was a man of progress and he 
had a mind of great magnitude. All that he did was on the 
scale of the Great Wall. In past months I have walked over 
much of the scene of his great capital, which extended from 
Hsienyang to the west of Sian, through Sian itself, and across 
the famous Wei River out to the scene of his present tomb 
beyond Lintung. Once a Chinese woman friend took me to 
the pkce where, she said, he buried hundreds of Confucian 
scholars alive. She called him "the great tyrant.'* He killed the 
Confucian scholars because they were trying to keep alive the 
feudal system which he was destroying. 

I must say that after years in China, after having seen the 
devastating effect of Confucian thought on people, I sym- 
pathize with Hwang Ti. While I don't think he should have 
buried the scholars alive, I think he did well in getting rid of 
them. A better method would have been to put them on con- 
struction gangs, digging some of his great canals, making his 
famous roads and marvelous stone bridges that still stand. 
And he might have spared many of the other men of China 
who were useful, and used the Confucian scholars to build 
the Great Wall. 

[177] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

My companions laugh at my ideas which I have been talk- 
ing about as we get started on our way; but they agree to 
some extent* We are aroused to the realities of the present by 
a commotion in a small village through which we are passing. 
A group of peasants stand about the door of a building, beat- 
ing on it with their fists and shouting, "Open!" Behind them 
stand a group of Eighth Route Army riflemen. 

The door does not open, so the Eighth Route Army men 
shove through the ranks of the peasants who eagerly make 
way for them, club the door with their rifles and, when there 
is no response, put their shoulders to it and break it down. In 
a few minutes they emerge leading a man in civilian clothes. 
The peasants tell us that this man is one of a group of four 
soldiers, defeated at the front, who have turned bandit and 
have been robbing the people. The three other soldiers were 
captured by a unit of our army who reached here before us, 
but this one escaped. The people found his hiding place and 
came to our army for help. All four deserters had rifles, but 
this one had no cartridges left. He had used his rifle to hold 
up people and get civilian clothing so he would not arouse 
suspicion when he came to a town. 

Today I saw another sight that I cannot forget. A Chinese 
translator from Manchuria, who acted as a translator to the 
Japanese army of occupation, was captured by the Eighth 
Route Army at Kwangyangchen on November 4th. He is 
now walking, roped, in our column, with a shovel on his 
back. When first captured, he wept and said the Japanese 
"forced" him to act as their translator. Large numbers of men 
and the leaders of the army have a deep belief in the goodness 
of the human heart, particularly of the Chinese human heart. 
And Chu Teh is a tender-hearted man deeply moved by suf- 

[178] 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

fering. So after the Manchurian had wept a few tears here 
and there, men began to say that he wasn't a very bad fellow 
at all, and we could not call him a "traitor." 

I said, "Look at his face. It's the face of a traitor. It's the 
face of a real running dog." Men admitted that, but many a 
good heart lies beneath an ugly face. We would treat the man 
kindly and he would change. So for days he walked freely in 
our columns, seeing everything, doing as he wished. Once he 
noticed that I was watching him, so he took a notebook from 
his pocket and began to write in it with a flourish. He flipped 
the pages over and over and I saw that he had written a lot. 
I knew exacdy what he had been doing; he was writing things 
which he knew that the army would later take from him and 
read and he was writing fine things! As he wrote, once or 
twice he turned his head slightly and got a glimpse of me 
from the corner of his eye. Then he bent to writing furiously 
again. "You dirty dog!" I thought. But I said nothing, for this 
army does not work by intuition, and they would not be in- 
terested in my intuitive reflections. 

But today I said, "Ah, ha! I told you so!" For the Man- 
churian tried to escape. He was captured and roped, and now 
when we come to bad stretches of road, he has the honor of 
doing pick-and-shovel work. He can't write in his little diary 
any more! And he walks with his head down, slouching 
along, a truly despicable figure. 

Today we passed through a stony valley with barren hills 
on either side. In some places the land was a bit more fertile 
and we saw flocks of black and white sheep on the hillsides. 
Once a whole hillside was dotted with them, and above and 
in back of them towered a town, supported on walls of little 
round stones all of which seemed to have been selected for 

[179] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

their roundness. The town was like a medieval fortress, and 
this impression became still stronger when I saw a tall fort 
built on the top of a nearby mountain. 

These forts on mountains here and in Western Shansi are a 
bit amusing today. They were built one and two years ago to 
be used against the former Chinese Red Army. Some of them 
still blare their anti-Communist slogans to the breezes. Once 
I saw such a fort in which a company of our army was sta- 
tioned. Around the three sides of a fort, high up, were three 
huge lines of writing in white. Along one side was a sign 
offering any Red soldier a big sum of money if he would 
bring in a Red commander dead or alive. Another slogan 
shouted, "Destroy the Red Army!" And another offered 
money to any Red soldier who would desert and go over to 
the White Army. I asked the soldiers if they knew what the 
slogans were. They knew, and they smiled. Some of them 
laughed aloud with me and we all stood gazing up at them. 
"Why don't you wipe them out?" I asked. "Oh, they're of no 
importance," a man answered. 

We halted for a few minutes in the town of Antze today. 
It is a district town with a few thousand population. No cir- 
cus could draw more of a crowd than I can. I am called a 
Japanese captive, a Russian aviator, a Russian chief-of-staff to 
the Eighth Route Army, and often men debate as to whether 
Pm a man or a woman. In Antze the situation is particularly 
interesting because a part of a Szechwan division is billeted 
here for the night. 

"That's a Russian," I hear from many of them. "The chief- 
of-staff of the Eighth Route Army is a Russian." 

"I'm an American newspaper correspondent!" I tell them, 

[180] 



TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

to their utter astonishment. And then to make matters worse 
I say, "And I'm a woman!" 

We passed one whole division of Szechwan troops, finely 
clad and excellently armed, with fine big mules and horses 
carrying the luggage of the officers. We moved along one 
side of winding mountain roads while thousands of Szechwan 
troops moved in the opposite direction on the other side of the 
path. The rank and file soldiers of the Szechwan armies are 
truly fine specimens of young manhood. They are taller than 
most of our own men, most of them are in their early or mid- 
dle twenties, and they are exceptionally good looking, and 
seem to be strong and healthy. Each man carried six to ten 
hand grenades in waist pockets. 

In the Eighth Route Army there are thousands of Sze- 
chwan men also. And as the Szechwan armies passed I won- 
dered what the Szechwan soldiers thought when they talked 
with our men. One of my guards, a Szechwan man, talked 
with some of them at a resting place. Later he told us that six 
companies of these men originally belonged to a division that 
fought the Japanese at Niangtzekwan on the Chentai rail- 
way. The Japanese destroyed all but the six companies, though 
some of the defeated men scattered throughout the province, 
demoralized by defeat, and began looting. The six companies 
moved southward, were reorganized and reenforced and are 
being sent to the front again. 

Tonight we reached the town of Sopu, which the people 
call Sopac. It is a fairly large town of two to three thousand 
families, nearly all of them peasants, and with a sprinkling of 
merchants. We stayed in the home of a poor wine merchant. 
A crowd soon gathered in our room to look at the foreigner, 

[181] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

and we talked with them. They told us of their problems 
always the same the problems of poverty. This is a poor re- 
gion, they say. The largest "landlord" owns only about a 
hundred mao eighteen acres of land. Still most of the peas- 
ants rent land, own almost nothing, and pay two-thirds of 
their crops as rent. They hire themselves and their little 
donkeys out the rest of the time to make a living. When the 
Red Army entered Shansi nearly two years ago, six men from 
this town joined it. This year nearly sixty went over into 
Shensi Province and joined, and now most of the young men 
of the place are joining the Partisans. 

When they heard the Eighth Route Army was the former 
Red Army and was coming here, they sent a delegation to 
headquarters to ask our army to remain in this place. That is 
impossible for we are moving to new positions against the 
Japanese. But the people would like us to remain, they say, 
and so surely we can. No, our people say, they must organize 
their Partisan groups. We will leave men behind, as we have 
everywhere else, who will train the Partisans. 

To keep ourselves warm tonight, we asked a merchant 
across the street to rent us two extra quilts. He gives them, 
but will accept no money. We laugh a bit later because they 
are quilts for the dead. And so they are thin. One of my 
guards bought some shoes in the same shop; they were shoes 
for the dead. Some of the peasants warned him against them, 
saying they would bring bad luck, but he laughed and said 
they were warm and would be good for his feet. He explains 
that he has often worn shoes made for the dead, and he is still 
alive and healthy. It is useless to be superstitious. Other men 
join in the debate. The peasants get a new idea from the 



TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

Eighth Route Army. Really, this is something to spend a 
week talking about when they return to their homes! 

Sopu 
November 22, 1937 

I have lost track of the days and my companions tell me I 
am behind time. It cannot be helped. I know when the bugle 
call sounds in the morning sometimes in the early hours 
after midnight, sometimes at four in the morning. I know 
when the moon is at the full, when it waxes and wanes. But 
sometimes the clouds cover it and the nights are dark, so I 
do not even know how to judge the dates. I know also that 
the winter has come upon us. But the exact date I no longer 
know and the little calendar I have in my attache case is un- 
used. But dates seem to matter little now. 

Today my two companions went to get the radio news, but 
it was also late. We learn of General Bluecher's latest state- 
ment calling upon the people of the Soviet Far East to be 
ready to defend the Soviet Union at any moment. The Jap- 
anese are making a base of North China, he says, for war 
against the Soviet Union, and there may be war between the 
two countries any time. It is clear also, the radio news tells us, 
that the new military government of Japan is directed not 
only against China but against a number of other countries 
also, among them the Soviet Union. 

We get news from the Eighth Route Army forces in North- 
ern Shansi. On November ipth a part of the Eighth Route 
Army cavalry occupied the town of Linchen, an important 
station on the Pinghan railway, and thus cut the rear of the 
Japanese army of occupation. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

The Japanese position in Shansi and Hopei is very difficult, 
we learn. 

The Partisans and Volunteers have developed very rapidly 
in those regions* One month ago when our headquarters left 
the Wutai mountains in North Shansi, we had one thousand 
two hundred or one thousand five hundred Partisans in that 
region. There are now ten thousand and they are fighting the 
Japanese everywhere. So the Japanese find it very difficult to 
transport supplies to their forces in and around Taiyiian. They 
are also unable to find Chinese to rule the country for them. 
They are trying to organize traitor troops, as they did in Man- 
churia and Inner Mongolia, but they are meeting with no 
success. So they must undertake some new military measures. 
In the meantime Szechwan and Third Army troops continue 
to move northward against them, and Lin Piao's division has 
crossed the railway ahead of us and is moving up against them 
to the west. Everywhere the people are arising. 

Southern Shansi, west of the Tungpu railway 

November 23, 7937 

Yesterday afternoon we left Sopu and started toward Hung- 
tung, a big station on the Tungpu railway. Behind us towered 
the beautiful, majestic Luliang range, covered with snow and 
one of its peaks with glistening ice. As we passed through the 
deep paths between loess cliffs, I caught a glimpse of the tops 
of stone monuments on the tableland above. I went up and 
saw a grave of what must have once been someone of great 
power. For here was a long "spirit path" two lines of stone 
animals and gigantic men, leading up to a big grave mound. 

It was dark when we approached the high strong walls of 
Hungtung. Li-po and I, with one of our guards, lingered be- 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

hind and came alone to the town. Instead of passing around 
it as we were supposed to do, we passed through the gates 
and along broad dirt streets until we came to one street bor- 
dered with paper lanterns. Here food venders were selling 
their wares, and we stocked up on round pancakes, nuts, 
candy, and even two baked chickens. We still had thirty li to 
go through the night; it was a dark night without a moon, 
and we were separated from our headquarters. 

I once read a poem by a British poet who was possessed by 
some fantasy of "a horseman hurrying through the night?* 
This line recurred in two or three different places and I won- 
dered what bug the poet had in his head when he wrote it. 
Tonight I recalled the line and said to myself that the poet 
perhaps knew nothing of what it means to be a horseman 
hurrying through the night. 

We were indeed hurrying through a dark night, in un- 
familiar country. We crossed the broad Feng River, on a 
wooden bridge covered with cornstalks, and then over coun- 
try criss-crossed with a thousand cart tracks and marked with 
the feet of thousands of men. Many armies have passed this 
way, coming and going-H:ens of thousands of men. For the 
headquarters of the northwestern command is along the rail- 
way to the south of us. Here armies have gathered and moved 
northward, here defeated armies have returned to be reor- 
ganized and sent again to the front. Here armies have crossed 
back and forth, passing each other, just as we passed tens of 
thousands of troops today moving in long blue lines. In this 
no-man's land at night we wandered for hours. Our flashlights 
would suddenly throw the figure of some man in relief it 
was one of the Eighth Route Army, lost like ourselves. Once 
we found a group of three of them, guided by a peasant man 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

and a boy who could see like cats in the dark. They were 
moving at a rapid pace, and for about an hour I knew the 
meaning of the two-hundred-li-a-day march of the former 
Chinese Red Army. I walked it because it was too cold to 
ride. The earth is frozen, the edges of the Feng Ho are 
frozen, the small rivers are frozen so that we crashed over 
them without wetting our feet. The wind was stiff and freez- 
ing in our faces. 

Soon we found that the peasant guides were taking us to a 
town to which our army was not to go. We fell behind and 
began to look for villages where we could ask directions and 
find a guide. We took different roads and turned back a dozen 
times. We found ourselves along a road with no human being 
in sight. 

This always happens to me in China I am forever finding 
myself in a place where there is no living soul; then suddenly 
there stands a man! I don't know where these Chinese come 
from. They seem to rise from the earth. They look like the 
earth and they stand motionless. And so this night we turned 
flashlights in all directions and saw no human habitation. 
Then to the right a man's figure appeared, standing perfectly 
still, looking at us. It was midnight, but there he was. We 
hailed him and asked him the way. Without moving he asked, 
"Who are you?" 

"Di Ba Lou Jhum" we answered, giving the name of our 
army. 

He was not convinced. We had to tell him all about our- 
selves, where we were going and how we found ourselves in 
this place. Satisfied, he told us we were on the wrong road, 
and he would take us back and guide us to the village we 
were intended to go to. 

[186] 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

We walked for another two hours and came to the town 
where we were to spend the night. We were half frozen 
despite the rapid pace. And we found that our headquarters 
had passed on to other places, though no one seemed to know 
just where. We looked everywhere for the white bits of paper 
by which we could find them, but saw none. A number of 
groups, lost like ourselves, kept joining us, so that we were 
soon quite a gathering. We sent one of my guards out by 
horse to search the nearby villages to find some trace of our 
headquarters, while we huddled in doorways and waited. 

Our peasant guide was much perturbed. He had come out 
of his cave on this dark cold night, walked for hours, and still 
had not helped us much. He felt badly. We talked with him 
as we waited and he told us of his problems. Like all the other 
peasants, his problems dealt with poverty. He rented twenty 
mao of land and paid two-thirds of the crop to the landlord. 
This is rich land here, and he got two crops a year. His life 
was hard. His only brother recently died, and he had an old 
mother to support. He wanted to join the Red Army he 
called us that but he had no one to care for his mother. And, 
as a good son, he must of course support her for as long as 
she lived. The Red Army had come here nearly two years ago, 
he said, and he had helped them but still could not go with 
them because of his mother. 

Suddenly we heard a bugle call through the night and with 
exclamations we all jumped up and listened. The call was 
"March." "Ma-di-%ch-pi! March in which direction?" one of 
our party exclaimed in disgust. Then my guard came gallop- 
ing up and told us to move back in the direction from which 
we had come this night, to a village about eight to ten li away. 
Our headquarters was moving there by another route. 

[187] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

The moon now came out of hiding and we walked along 
narrow white paths on the edge o fields of winter wheat. My 
companions were dead tired. I was tired also, but the moon 
shining on the white paths and glinting on the blades of 
young wheat was very beautiful. 



November 23, 

In the comfortable home of a rich peasant, we are treated 
like honored guests. All members of the family remained up 
to welcome us. They had built fires and heated the rooms and 
the twangs; they had boiling water for us to drink and to 
wash with, and they had prepared dumplings and vegetables. 
They gathered in our room, smiling and welcoming us in a 
flood of talk. All of us forgot our weariness. 

The head of the house is an old man over sixty years 'of 
age. His wife is foot-bound, but strong and happy, and she 
came to assure me that she will do anything for me. There 
are three sons in the family, one twenty-seven, one twenty- 
three, and one nineteen. They are the typical, tall, strong 
northern men, and they all came in to welcome us with the 
others, to bring more coal, to help us with our luggage and 
our animals. 

I left the rest of my group talking eagerly with them, eating 
the good warm meal. I fell asleep before I lay down and 
awoke two hours later to lie through the rest of the night, 
watching the shadows that the moonlight cast through the 
latticed, paper windows. The shadows fell on our 1(ang like a 
gigantic spider web. And my weary mind was as cold and as 
white as the moonlight. 

The family here constantly brings us extra food, specially 
prepared for us. They keep curious crowds from coming to 

[IBB] 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

molest me while I work. But when I am not working, some 
of the family come in with their friends to talk with me about 
America and other lands. My typewriter is a wonder to them, 
though one of the sons has studied in a high school in Tai- 
yiian. As my typewriter is a wonder, my speech is still more 
so. And a greater wonder developed when James Bertram, 8 
an English friend, a newspaper correspondent, arrived at 
headquarters to join us and to write for British papers. Mr. 
Bertram brings me letters and news of the "outside" world. 
For it is that. We are really cut off from all but the most 
fragmentary news. But he tells us of the Far Eastern Confer- 
ence the Nine Power Conference also of Shanghai and 
other regions. 

November 24, 7937 

Regretfully we leave this village and move to another, eight 
li away, where we freeze in the home of poor peasants. 

Chu Teh has returned from a trip to Provincial Army 
headquarters. He has brought with him dozens of letters sent 
to the Eighth Route Army from all parts of China, and he 
has brought back presents given by individuals and organiza- 
tions. These presents are of every kind socks, soap, towels, 
gloves, sweaters, blankets, and fifteen thousand pairs of shoes 
from the Shanghai Women's National Salvation Association. 
One present is from the litde son of the late Lu Hsiin, China's 
greatest writer. Friends of Lu Hsiin had contributed a sum 
of money for the school fees of this child. He took the money 
and bought one hundred and fifty flashlights and seventy-five 
dozen batteries for the Eighth Route Army. Women have em- 
broidered handkerchiefs, with slogans, for the army, and 

8 Author of First Act in China, Viking Press, 1938. 

[189] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

others have sent special badges on which are embroidered the 
words: "Heroes of the Nation." There is a letter to Chu Teh 
from General Chiang Kai-shek. 

Chu Teh brings the news that the Japanese have retreated 
on the northern front. The exact reason is not known. We 
think there are three possible reasons: (i) General Bluecher's 
recent declaration; (2) the Fifth Japanese Division has suf- 
fered heavy losses and must be reorganized; (3) the Japanese 
are in a tight place in Shansi because of the widespread, relent- 
less Partisan warfare waged on them by the Eighth Route 
Army and the Partisans in North Shansi. They cannot get 
supplies or re-enforcements through because of this Partisan 
warfare, and they now plan to make an attempt to "clear out" 
the North Shansi area, particularly the Wutai mountain re- 
gion which is one of the main bases of the Partisans. 

Mr. Bertram said yesterday: 

"Before long, I personally believe that there will be no army 
in Shansi except the Eighth Route Army. The others will be 
defeated, and will eventually withdraw and leave the field to 
the Eighth Route." 

I do not know. I know that General Yen Hsi-shan now has 
only ten thousand men left. Under constant persuasion of our 
command, he has agreed to abandon his former tactics and 
strategy and follow the tactics and strategy of the Eighth 
Route Army. This is a big step for this old militarist to take. 
It shows his determination to fight to the end, and it shows 
that his mind is still capable of absorbing ideas and methods 
to which he was never before accustomed. 

The attitude of Eighth Route Army leaders arouses my un- 
wavering admiration. With all their hearts, with all their 
being, they defend China. Their principles take in all Chinese 

[190] 



TRAVELING WITH 8TH ROUTE ARMY 

whoever they may bewilling to fight the Japanese. The 
preservation of the national united front against the Japanese 
is their supreme concern. They do not condemn or attack men 
so long as there is a hope that they will support the national 
war of liberation. With patient arguments they present their 
ideas and argue for their acceptance. 

For months they pleaded and argued for the organizing and 
arming of the people and met for a long time with refusal. 
When the Shansi and Central Government troops were de- 
feated in Sinkow, the strategic pass in North Shansi, they re- 
treated and left thousands of rifles and machine guns behind. 
Ho Lung's army recaptured those weapons for us. To Chu 
Teh I remarked, "Now you can arm ten thousand more of 
the people." Chu Teh looked at me but made no reply. Later 
I was told that the Eighth Route Army turned back all of 
those weapons to General Yen Hsi-shan, who gave them to 
the Szechwan divisions which have been defeated. The Eighth 
Route commanders have said that the soldiers of the defeated 
and demoralized units must be politically educated to know 
that their roots are in the mass movement; they must be 
taught that they are the protectors of the people, and must 
fight shoulder to shoulder with the people, their brothers. 

I have also seen the Eighth Route command's treatment of 
the Japanese prisoners. Many of the Japanese captives in North 
Shansi have been given money, told the principles for which 
China and the Eighth Route Army fight, then released and 
told to return to their homes. I remarked that they will return 
to their troops to be shot to death by their officers, or to be 
used against China again. Chu Teh said that if their officers 
kill them, the other Japanese troops will react violently against 
it and will know that they were treated well and released by 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

the Chinese. If they return to their troops to fight again, they 
will tell the other Japanese soldiers their experiences and what 
they heard. 

They do not want to return to Japan, for they are captives 
and by the rules of the Japanese Army a captive can never 
return to Japan. An older captive, an officer, at first misunder- 
stood the kindness with which he was treated. He refused to 
stand up when the Chinese Command went to talk to him, 
but remained sitting contemptuously. He scornfully ordered 
them to supply him with a horse, and each day to give him 
chickens, rice and eggs. He thought he was dealing with 
slaves. 

To him the Chinese replied: 

"Do not misunderstand the humanity with which we treat 
you. It does not mean we are your inferiors. You have been 
taught that by the Japanese Army. You are not in command 
here. We give you rice, but we ourselves eat only millet. We 
give you food which we cannot afford for ourselves. We can 
do no more. We learn that you have struck some of the peas- 
ants in the face who came and looked at you. We will not kill 
you for this we merely tell you that if you beat the people, 
we will beat you." 

After that, the attitude of the officer changed. Once I saw 
that Chu Teh had given him his horse to ride, while the little 
Japanese worker also had a horse. And slowly the officer has 
changed in all ways. When men talk to him now, he talks 
and argues his viewpoint. The Japanese nation is losing the 
friendship of the whole world, he says, and this is due en- 
tirely to the wrong policy of the Japanese militarists. There 
must be an international movement to change the present 
method of settling affairs. It will be interesting to spend *the 

[192] 



TRAVELING WITH 8lH ROUTE ARMY 

New Year in China, amongst the Chinese people, he says, 
though he had never realized that he would spend it in this 
manner. 

Since both Japanese captives dare not go home, and dare not 
return to their army, they are being sent to Yenan. 

In countless ways I further watch the work o the Eighth 
Route Army command, and never have anything but the 
deepest respect. Yesterday, before we left the home of the rich 
peasant family that welcomed us like members of their fam- 
ily, the three sons informed us that they were entering the anti- 
Japanese warfare. The two younger sons are leaving for the 
Anti-Japanese Political and Military University at Yenan and 
the older son has joined the Partisans. 

The old father and mother listened to them with pride, and 
turned their beaming faces toward us. They are giving their 
sons, their only children, to the Eighth Route Army. 

In the ranks of this army of China are not only the sons 
of poor peasants, but even some sons of landlords and officiak 
from every part of China. Some of the leading Chinese Com- 
munists come from the old ruling classes. 

The old father and mother and their three sons posed for a 
picture for me. They were smiling and happy but I could 
hardly speak. To hide my emotion I laughed with them a 
bit too loudly, I think, as one always does at such moments. 



[193] 



Sights, News, 
Interview and Bombardment 



Pingyangfu 
November 27, 1937 

I HAVE left the Eighth Route Army for a few days to come 
to this ancient city in search of many things known and un- 
known. Of the known, I hoped to reach here before the 
wounded of the Eighth Route had been moved to the west. 
They were in a village a few li to the north of this city, but 
by the time I reached here, they were moved. I could not 
learn of their condition. But I know we have little medicine 
and on the whole none of what we most urgently need. Yet 
our wounded are not as badly off as are the wounded of some 
of the armies. We transport our wounded, and hundreds of 
peasants voluntarily go from every town and village to carry 
them on stretchers. Our medical department sends men all 
along the route of transport to organize stations where they 
can be cared for at night. Doctors and nurses go with them 
and some remain at stations waiting for those still to come, 
chat they may be properly cared for. I recall one village at 
which I halted for half an hour two or three weeks ago. A 
few hundred wounded had spent a few nights there. The vil- 
lage was spotless. The J(angs were clean and fires were burn- 

1>94] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

ing in them. All the peasants had hot water ready, for a new 
lot of wounded were coming that day. 

It has been a thing of horror to see the wounded of some of 
the armies. Where possible they were loaded on freight cars 
and sent to the south of the province. No doctors or nurses 
went with them, and many of them were weeks on the way. 
Other wounded lay by the railway, and no one lifted them 
onto the cars, while thousands of wounded wandered alone 
down across the province. As our army came down from the 
north along the eastern side of the railway, we met many- 
wounded from the other armies wandering along the roads. 
They were chalky men, bent and exhausted, without even a 
blanket to cover them at night. I talked to one such wounded 
man from the Third Army, one of the best. He was afraid to 
ride my horse because he had never ridden. But he took food 
and money from us, and he came into our village late that 
night, hoping the Eighth Route Army would take him into 
its ranks. Later on I talked with two other soldiers stumbling 
along. At first they would not tell us which army they be- 
longed to. Instead, they asked us what our army was. Then 
they said that they, too, were Eighth Route Army men! We 
investigated but found they were not. They said this, know- 
ing we would take care of them. Well, we took care of them 
anyway. There were other lightly wounded men who trailed 
our army en route, coming into villages late at night. They 
wanted to join us. Nor could we get rid of them. The peas- 
ants along the way were willing to take care of them until 
they were completely recovered, but they would leave these 
peasant homes and set out to catch up with our army, com- 
ing in late, arguing and urging. 

To the Eighth Route Army, each one of its men is a pre- 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

cious asset. For years they have been trained so that they are 
politically developed, deeply conscious of the role they play in 
Chinese and world history. And the whole army views with 
anxiety the loss of each man. 

I had hoped to find our wounded near this city so I could 
learn just what medical supplies they need most. I asked our 
headquarters, and they said, "We need almost everything." 
We have no serums, no vaccines, insufficient disinfectants, 
cotton, gauze, and other supplies so urgently needed in war- 
time. Blood transfusion is a dream only, with all the Chinese 
armies, including our own. 

There is one hospital ten li to the south of here, and the 
doctor in charge of the foreign mission hospital here goes 
down to perform operations or care for the wounded. The 
missionaries tell me that practically all Chinese doctors have 
fled from the province, though they had military orders to 
remain and care for the wounded. Only one of the Chinese 
missionary doctors remains. 

Pingyangfu, also known as Linfeng, is now one of the 
provincial political and military centers of the province. De- 
feated armies from the North have come here, and have been 
reorganized and sent again to the front. Fresh armies have 
passed through on their way to the front. The Japanese know 
all this through their network of spies. But they have not 
yet destroyed the city. 

From the viewpoint of an invading horde of Japanese, this 
is a fine place for mass slaughter. The city is choked with 
people and with troops. The streets are an endless caravan of 
military wagons, loaded with supplies and drawn by mules 
and horses, or carried on the backs of camels or men. From 
morning to night armed and unarmed soldiers fill the streets, 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

while cavalry troops jangle past, shouting at the people to 
clear a way. Often a wagon breaks down in the middle of the 
narrow streets, and then the traffic of the whole city is held 
up until it is fixed. The streets resound with the shouts of men 
telling the driver of the unfortunate wagon what kind of 
person his mother and his mother's mother was. The driver 
tells his mules the same thing about their mothers, and the 
mules bray in protest these Chinese curses may pass over the 
heads of men but I firmly believe that the mules find them un- 
bearable. Their brays mingle with the neighing of horses and 
the angry honks of military trucks stranded in the street. 

Along both sides of the narrow streets are the small tables 
and "wandering restaurants" of venders of food and other 
wares. Here you can buy a broken flashlight and burned out 
batteries which the seller praises to the skies. You can buy the 
most miserable cotton stockings on earth, which all seem to be 
of Japanese manufacture. You can buy face towels and yel- 
low soap. You cannot find a pair of cloth shoes to fit any man, 
though rows of foot-bound women sit along the streets all 
day long sewing inlay soles for shoes and stockings. They 
laugh at my big feet. I shiver when I look at theirs, so crip- 
pled that they look like the hoofs of goats. 

But the choice thing to be bought here from the venders is 
the food boiling in the open iron cauldrons. All day long 
clouds o dust and manure are beaten up over the city and 
settle on the biscuits, on cooking food and on the malt candy. 
The meat boiling in the cauldrons is anything from good 
pork to dead mule, donkey or dog. If you should risk talking 
to anyone about germs, the whole street would be called in to 
gaze and laugh at the prize idiot that had wandered into 
their city. Most Chinese believe in nothing that they cannot 

[197] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

see, touch or eat- I asked Li-po how he would explain to any- 
one what a germ is. He said he could do that easily. "How?" 
I asked. "Well," he replied thoughtfully, "Yd tell them there 
is something very strange that makes them sick." "They will 
think you mean an evil spirit, or a devil," I protested. And 
then I wondered if Li-po himself knew what a germ is. So 
I shut up. 

I wonder if conditions in this ancient city are not much the 
same as during the vanished Yao Dynasty. For the city goes 
back to the babyhood of the Chinese race, and was the capital 
of one of the first Chinese emperors. A third name for it even 
now means "the capital of Yao." Five or six thousand years 
seem to make little difference to the Chinese. To the south of 
here by ten li is a temple to this ancient Yao emperor, and it 
is claimed that he was born there. I would go there if there 
were anything to see in this rektively new temple to his 
memory. I know that we are traveling over the site of one of 
the earliest human civilizations, and that our army is but one 
of the countless armies that have marched over this ancient 
earth against invading barbarian hordes. I sometimes feel that 
I am in one of these "dust-mantled clouds of warriors" march- 
ing through Chinese history. 

Yet there is much that is modern and hopeful today. There 
are many signs that the people are at last being aroused and 
inspired. Here on the walls of buildings of Pingyangfu are 
slogans of all kinds against the Japanese, written in black, red 
and white paint, or scrawled in chalk. This is the work of the 
Eighth Route Army. All Government armies carry a few 
printed posters and slogans with them, printed in some big 
city and now pasted up on walls. But the Eighth Route Army 
literally covers the country with its slogans, written by hand 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

slogans that spring from the hearts and minds of the men 
in its ranks. Even my guards are eternally writing slogans in- 
side and outside buildings. Also, on the walls of buildings 
here in this city are big posters supposed to represent Mao 
Tse-tung, Chu Teh, and Peng Teh-hwei. Mao Tse-tung has 
been given a long bony face like a horse, Chu Teh's appear- 
ance is enough to scare any Japanese to death, and no Japanese 
warlord could lift a more arrogant, contemptuous chm than 
does Peng Teh-hwei. Never mind, I think, this is also good. 
Also, within this city there are many people's organizations 
that are modern and filled with a new world vision, such as 
the Front Mobilization Committee, the "Dare to Die" Corps, 
the Young Vanguards, and the National Salvation League of 
Sacrifice. Here are also Partisan groups. Some of these or- 
ganizations existed before the Eighth Route Army entered 
the province, but most have been called to life by the Com- 
munists, who train them both politically and militarily for 
war against the Japanese. There are a few hundred students 
from the Peiping Students Union who came here a short time 
ago to join the Eighth Route Army. They are being trained 
and will soon be in the field as Partisans. I heard today that 
the group of some eighty Tungpei (Manchurian) students, 
most of them well-to-do men, who moved down across Shansi 
to our headquarters a few weeks ago are already actually 
fighting as Partisans, and, led by Eighth Route Army men, 
have passed through the Japanese lines along the Chentai 
railway and are moving into Western Hopei Province. 

It is night. I left Pingyangfu and came to this village some 
twenty-five li away, hoping to find some of the wounded men 

[199] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

of the Eighth Route Army. But they have already been trans- 
ported farther west. 

Here I met the first foreign volunteer in the Northwest. He 
is a young Jugoslav student who came to this village with 
two hundred Peiping and Tientsin students two weeks ago, 
to join the Eighth Route Army. They are now receiving daily 
training in political and military problems. After another 
week they will take up their rifles and be off for the front, 
where they will operate first as Partisan bands. 

The young foreign volunteer asked that I say little of him 
because his mother lives in a city under Japanese occupation. 
He speaks excellent Chinese and, unlike many foreigners, he 
does not feel that he is superior to the Chinese. His home is 
China, he has been educated in China, and his friends and 
comrades are Chinese students. So he takes up arms in de- 
fense of China. 'Til do my best," he said as we parted. 

November 28, 7957 

In this village there is an office of the Eighth Route Army. 
Such offices are at least to me like oases in the desert of 
bleakness and suffering that is China today. You wander 
through cities or villages filled with marching soldiers or 
wounded men, or with peasants troubled by the myriad 
problems of the poor. They stare at you as if you had escaped 
from some zoological garden, but beyond this they have no 
time to give you. If you are a member of the Eighth Route 
Army, they may put down tools and guide you from village 
to village. Then suddenly in some village or town you enter 
the courtyard of an Eighth Route Army office and meet 
friendly, smiling faces. The men find a bed for you, prepare 
a charcoal fire, and bring food and hot water, even if it is 
[200] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

midnight. You have come "home," and you forget all the 
weariness of hours of walking over frozen, rutty paths. 

I met a man here who told me a story of the fall of Taiyuan, 
told it as he had experienced it. Here it is. ... 

This is not the whole story of the defense and fall of Tai- 
yuan. It is a fragment from a tragedy. It is the story of one 
man's experience. 

The Japanese were converging on Taiyuan from the north 
the Sinkow front and from the east, along the Chentai 
railway. On the northern front there were about twenty-seven 
regiments, or from sixty to seventy thousand men, supported 
by powerful batteries and many airplanes. Facing them were 
some thirty thousand Chinese troops, including Shansi Pro- 
vincial men and some divisions of General Kao Kwei-tzu, of 
General Feng Ching-tsai, and others. On the eastern front the 
Japanese were pushing forward with over twenty thousand 
men, also supported by field guns and airplanes. They broke 
through the Chinese defenses at Niangtzekwan on the Chen- 
tai railway and pushed steadily forward, often annihilating 
whole regiments with their batteries and airplanes. The 
Chinese had no airplanes to help them and few field guns. 
One unit of the Eighth Route Army had been sent to this 
eastern front a month before; but its men were relatively few 
and its arms inferior. It inflicted a heavy defeat on the Jap- 
anese south of Niangshihkwan within a week after arrival, 
killing over five hundred and capturing military animals and 
supplies. 

In the first days of November the General Headquarters of 
the Eighth Route Army, accompanied by a unit of the Eighth 
Route, crossed the Chentai railway at the station of Showyang 
and began to move south of the railway to halt the steady 

[201] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Japanese advance. But on the very day they crossed the tracks, 
the Japanese defeated the Chinese troops at Showyang and 
began moving toward Yiitze, a few miles from Taiyiian. The 
Eighth Route Army received orders too late to move south 
of the railway, and before they could even take up positions, 
the Japanese had pushed on to the capital. 

On November 4th the Eighth Route Army, outnumbered 
eight -to one, met the Japanese in battle and killed a thousand 
of them, capturing large quantities of supplies. But this had 
little effect on the Japanese forces already approaching Tai- 
yiian. On that very day, the entire Chinese force on the north- 
ern front at Sinkow began to retreat to the south, and General 
Yen Hsi-shan removed his headquarters from Taiyiian. In 
defense of the retreat, General Wei Li-hwang, commander-in- 
chief on the northern front, said that it was in accordance 
with military tactics to retreat if the Japanese captured the 
Chentai railway and thus cut them off. Also, he said, the 
Chinese forces at Sinkow were in a mountainous region 
where there was little or no food and few people to support 
them. But Ho Lung, commander of an Eighth Route Army 
force, has been in a far worse situation between the Jap- 
anese lines at Tatung and Sinkow and yet he remained in 
this territory, and had the full support of the entire popula- 
tion which supplied his forces with food. 

General Wei Li-hwang is an able general, but he could not 
prevent the Chinese troops in the Sinkow region from re- 
treating southward in what was nothing but a disorderly, 
desperate rout. Not only was it a rout, but thousands of the 
soldiers threw down their arms that they might travel more 
swiftly. Ho Lung's troops came down to Sinkow on their 

[202] 



Chou En-lai, rept esentatwe 
of the Eighth Route Army 
on the Mass Mobilization 
Committee of the Central 
Chinese Government 





Lin Piao, commander of the 
Division of the Eighth 
Route Army 




Eighth Route Army men crossing a stream in north Shansi 




Nurses traveling with the Eighth Route Army 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

heels and rescued ten thousand rifles and large numbers of 
machine guns. 

To the east of Taiyiian the Japanese continued to advance, 
the Chinese forces at Yiitze falling steadily back, almost with- 
out a struggle. Among these forces was a Szechwan division 
and a division from Hunan Province. On November 5th, 
while the Eighth Route Army was fighting the enemy at 
Kwangyangchen, the Japanese column along the Chentai rail- 
way reached a station twenty li (less than ten miles) from 
Taiyiian. And throughout this period whole squadrons of 
Japanese planes bombed the city, destroying great areas, kill- 
ing thousands of people, and completely destroying the north- 
ern gate and the wall about it. 

One month ago General Fu Tso-yi, who won international 
fame as defender of Suiyiian Province the year before, had 
been made defense commander of the city. In the kst wave of 
Japanese invasion all but six thousand of his troops had been 
wiped out. He brought these six thousand men from the 
Sinkow front to Taiyiian, and now as the Japanese advanced 
from two directions and the Chinese forces retreated, he re- 
mained in the city with his six thousand men as defenders. 

On the night of November 5th, with the Japanese twenty li 
away, the general evacuation of Taiyuan began* It began just 
as the thirty thousand Chinese troops, with all their baggage, 
animals and their cavalry, came pouring down from the 
Sinkow front. The main roads for the evacuation were across 
the Feng River which flows west of the city, beyond the city 
wall. Over this river were four bridges, two of them con- 
siderably to the north. One, a wooden structure, was to the 
south. A fourth bridge, of which few people knew> had just 

[203] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

been constructed between the northern and the southern 
bridges. 

As darkness fell on the night o November 5th, and the 
Japanese airplanes could no longer bomb the city, wave upon 
wave of people from Taiyiian began pouring out through the 
southern gate and over the southern bridge across the Feng 
River. The two northern bridges were a black mass of push- 
ing and shouting soldiers in retreat, and no civilian had a 
ghost of a chance amongst them. With them moved their 
wounded, falling and being trampled under foot by desperate 
men. The bridges at times became clogged with wagons and 
animals and then there was a struggling, fighting mass of 
men whose shouts and cries could be heard within the city 
wall. 

With the mass of people evacuating from Taiyiian were 
forty men from the Taiyiian headquarters of the Eighth Route 
Army. They had loaded their radio, documents, maps, and 
^ u gg a ge on their seven trucks. Three trucks had been able to 
pass through the barricaded western gate with its heavy steel 
doors rcenforced by steel chains. These three trucks crossed 
the Feng River and waited on the other side for the remaining 
four, which crawled along with the civilian population 
through the southern gate and tried to cross the southern 
bridge. But a tank had broken down right in the middle of 
the southern bridge, leaving just enough space for two lines 
of people, walking single-file, to pass on either side. Trucks 
and animals could not go on. Around this bridge and along the 
banks of the Feng River was a sea o humanity mingled with 
cavalry from the Sinkow front, with trucks, private motor 
cars, donkeys, mules, horses, carts of every description. Here 
were men, women, little children, the aged, each trying to 
[204] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

carry something of his worldly possessions. The weak and 
the aged, crushed and exhausted, fell and were trampled to 
death by the feet of men and animals. There was weeping 
and shouts of agony, there was pushing and crushing, and 
fainting women, and the desperate cries of little children. The 
four trucks of the Eighth Route Army men could not move 
forward one inch. They remained stationary in a solid mass 
of human flesh. 

Eleven o'clock came, the night was black, and the mass of 
humanity dribbled across the bridge, while the retreating sol- 
diers with their wagons and animals pushed across the north- 
ern bridges. With them moved many motor trucks and a 
number of tanks from the northern front. Some of their field 
guns had been saved and were being dragged across the 
bridges. 

The Eighth Route Army men on the four trucks knew that 
the Japanese airplanes would begin bombing the bridges and 
the refugees at dawn. It would take hours to cross the bridge 
before them, but they must cross. So they abandoned their 
four trucks and all their luggage. On their backs they strapped 
their radios and batteries, their boxes of maps and documents, 
and began to push their way across. Some crossed the bridge 
at three in the morning, only to find that they had lost the 
others, among them Chou En-lai, their chief, the representa- 
tive of the Eighth Route Army in the northern command. 
One of these men stripped and began to swim back through 
the waters of the freezing Feng River only to find that he 
did not have to swim he could wade it! 

With this discovery, an Eighth Route Army man assumed 
command of all the refugees and of the cavalry and soldiers 
who had mingled with them. He directed the cavalry and the 

[205] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

soldiers and all able-bodied men to ford the river. No one had 
been in command before, but now every man, woman and 
child obeyed. The Feng River resounded with the splashing 
of thousands of men and beasts. 

The Eighth Route Army man called for strong men to try 
and throw the broken-down tank into the river. Thousands 
volunteered. But only a few could get around the tank. They 
tugged and strained but could not move it. They gave way 
to fresh units who tugged and strained. And so this went on 
for nearly an hour, in vain. The steel tank was too heavy to 
be moved without machinery. It had to be abandoned and thin 
streams of women and children and the aged pushed by on 
either side. 

The Eighth Route Army "commander" reconnoitered to 
the north. He found the three other trucks of his army, or- 
dered them to wait at the southern bridge for all their com- 
rades, and went on. The blackness of the night was vanishing 
before the coming dawn; and in this gray light he found the 
new wooden bridge across the Feng Ho! There it stretched in 
virgin whiteness, not a soul passing over it! He rushed back 
and ordered the refugees to cross it. They began pouring 
across it like a torrent. The "commander" returned to the 
three trucks to find all of his comrades assembled there, among 
them Chou En-lai, and they moved off along the road to the 
southwest. It was too late to turn back to rescue their four 
other trucks. For the dawn had come. And they had barely 
reached a village a few li away when the first enemy airplanes 
appeared over Taiyuan and began bombing the bridges over 
the Feng River, hemming in many retreating troops that had 
not yet been able to cross. 

General Wei Li-hwang came out of the city of Taiyuan and 

[206] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

assumed command of the Chinese troops who were still there. 
They were all Shansi provincial soldiers. He and the Shansi 
officers rallied them in time to meet the Japanese coming 
down on their heels from the north. A battle was fought along 
the western walls of Taiyiian. But the Chinese troops, out- 
numbered and without machine guns, gradually fell back and 
retreated along the Tungpu railway to the south. And within 
the city General Fu Tso-yi and his six thousand men began 
fighting the advancing enemy from the city wall and from 
positions within the city. 

During the early dawn, at another sector around the walls 
of the city, General Teng Hsi-hao, commander of a division 
of Szechwan troops which had fought on the eastern front, 
tried to rally his troops. His division had lost four thousand 
men and had three thousand left. General Teng ordered them 
inside the city to the aid of General Fu Tso-yi. He went in on 
what he thought was their heels only to find that not a man 
of them had entered! They had gone with the wind, down 
over Shansi plains and mountains! 

Within the city of Taiyiian, General Fu Tso-yi and his six 
thousand men stood their ground. Throughout the days of 
November 6th, 7th, and 8th, and through the nights of 
November 6th and 7th, they fought without cessation. The 
city wall ran with blood and the bodies of the defenders were 
piled up around their machine guns, a barricade for those who 
continued to fight. 

General Fu, a strongly built, simple, sincere northern mili- 
tary man, moved amongst them. It is said he grew old in those 
days and nights, his eyes were bloodshot from sleeplessness 
and fatigue, and his clothing was torn and dirty and soaked 
with blood. His radio was destroyed and he could send no 

[207] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

news to his comrades beyond. They thought that he and all 
his men had been annihilated. 

By the end of November 8th, four thousand of General 
Fu's six thousand men had been killed, and many o the 
others wounded. And so on that night he and his men, in- 
cluding the wounded, left the city by means we do not yet 
know, marched through the night and the day and reached 
the city of Fengyang to the southwest. 

When the Japanese entered Taiyiian we do not know. All 
roads before the city gates were mined, and it was not easy 
for them without heavy losses. They finally entered a city on 
whose walls were frozen streams of the blood of its defenders. 
The frozen corpses lay with faces turned to the wintry sky 
faces stern and grim with purpose. 

. . . This is the story I have heard of the city of Taiyiian 
SL story that remains to be completed. 

Pingyangfu 
November 29, 7957 

Last night we returned to this city, approaching its great 
gray walls in the late afternoon. The wintry wind swept 
through the barren branches of the spruce trees; the dry 
weeds bent to the earth, trembling; the dry grass crackled. 
Short dirty icicles hung from the hair on the legs o camels 
that lumbered along in a caravan of military supplies. 

Li-po left immediately for Sian to form a committee to raise 
money for the Volunteers fighting in Japanese-occupied areas. 
And my two guards and I, too late for the late afternoon meal 
at Eighth Route Army headquarters, bought some food from 
a vender before our building, ate it, and climbed on our f(ang 
to rest for the night. 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

It was sometime in the night when I awoke my guards and 
told them I was dreadfully sick. I was freezing cold, but my 
heart was pumping blood through my body so rapidly that it 
roared through my head in rapid pulse beats. I thought of the 
many diseases of China, among them typhus, and I recalled 
the lice I had had for two days this month. But I was freezing, 
my head was splitting, my heart beating rapidly. And I knew 
this meant poisoning. As I lay in ghastly pain, nausea over- 
came me. My guards half-carried me outdoors and I vomited. 
I felt consciousness leaving me, then my guards were placing 
cold pads on my head. I heard one of them outside vomiting, 
also; he staggered back into the room, chalky and half-con- 
scious, and fell on the J^'ang. Then the other guard did the 
same, and I realized that we all were poisoned. 

The city lay still. We had a room in a building two doors 
from the main office of our army. Not one of us could stand 
upright and I feared to send one of them or to go to the office. 

Through this whole night we three vomited and gave our- 
selves up to the misery of diarrhea. My heart worked like a 
triphammer, then slowed down and nearly stopped. I had no 
coffee, no medicine of any kind. I kept crawling along the 
J^ang to feel the pulses of my guards, lying half-conscious. 
And as the hours wore on the worst of my sickness passed. As 
I expected, my guard who sings and who is sensitive to noise 
and dirt was the sickest of all. My other guard and I heated 
water, but nothing could revive him from his state of semi- 
consciousness. 

My Kiangsi guard went into the streets and found two rick- 
shas. We lifted the other guard into one and off we went to 
the hospital. There I received medicine 5 my sick guard was 
pumped out, given medicine and put to bed, and I, recovering 

[209] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

rapidly, talked to the missionary doctor and watched him treat 
the line of wounded soldiers that pour into his hospital each 
day. On the wall above his desk was a calendar that said it 
was November 28th "The Lord's Day." I knew my dates 
were wrong, but now I was ahead o time by a day. 

At eleven I took my guards back to our room and they went 
to bed. I had an appointment with General Wei Li-hwang. 

"I'm sick and do not feel like going," I told one of our 
office men who came to take me. 

"Oh well, everyone's sick, and I myself have a headache," 
he replied. And it seemed utterly futile to tell him that my 
guards and I had nearly died during the night from food 
poisoning. And so I went to the interview, my head still tight 
with pain, and my heart acting capriciously. I felt dirty, ex- 
hausted, miserable. 

Feeling like a tramp I went to the interview with General 
Wei Li-hwang, commander-in-chief of the Central and Shansi 
troops, and commander-in-chief on the Sinkow front north of 
Taiyiian before the fall of that city. In any other circum- 
stance, I would not have attempted an interview. But this is 
wartime and the entire Chinese people and the armies fighting 
the Japanese struggle on in circumstances far worse than mine. 
Sick and lightly wounded men continue to fight, and so surely 
I can talk. However, my sickness obsessed me and the poison 
in my body seemed to command my mind. 

Entering General Wei's headquarters, my first impression 

was of the fine appearance of his staff. All were clad in the best 

warm uniforms and coats, many of them with fur caps, fur 

collars, and black polished boots that shone like mirrors. I 

[210] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBAM)MENT 

glanced ruefully at my torn leggings and my colorless worn 
shoes, and felt more than ever like a tramp. 

General Wei had his own interpreter, who received and 
viewed me critically. He studied my uniform, puttees, and 
shoes with what seemed to me most obvious disapproval. But 
then General Wei came into the room, waved me to a chair, 
seated himself and looked me directly in the face. He did not 
even look at my worn clothing. He was a young man still, or 
so it appeared to me, in his early or middle thirties, short, 
squarely built, with a small black mustache. His uniform and 
coat were of good warm woolen khaki, his collar and cap 
were of fur and his boots were immaculately polished. 

General Wei was a cheerful, good-natured man, with a very 
distinct air of efficiency about him. Everything about him ex- 
pressed his position of command. Throughout our talk he was 
cheerful, optimistic. 

He was very cheerful about the situation in Shansi Province. 
Yes, he said, the main Japanese force of about sixty thousand 
to seventy thousand men was now concentrated in Taiyiian. 
They had formerly had about twenty-seven regiments on the 
northwestern front, but had lost about half of them. They 
have lost about thirty thousand men in this Shansi campaign, 
he said. Today in Taiyiian they have large numbers of sick, 
wounded, and exhausted men and they are in a very difficult 
situation. The occupation of Taiyiian is not so important as 
they would have the world believe. They cannot get reen- 
forcements or food, and they can get nothing through the 
northern routes because of the work of Chinese troops there. 
(These are the Eighth Route Army troops.) 

When they first occupied Taiyiian, he said, they had 
planned to continue their drive southward and take the whole 

[211] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

province. They did occupy the towns of Pmgyao, Taichow, 
Chaochin and Taiku, but then they retreated, keeping only a 
small force in Taiku. Taiku is now surrounded by Chinese 
troops. 

The Chinese retreat from Sinkow was necessary, General 
Wei declared, because the Japanese were able to occupy the 
Chentai railway and approach Taiyiian from the east, thus 
cutting off the Sinkow defenders. The Chinese troops at 
Sinkow had been fighting in most difficult conditions: they 
did not have the artillery or airplanes to help them that the 
enemy had, they were in the mountains where food was diffi- 
cult to get and where little help reached them. 

I asked General Wei why the Japanese are now retreating, 
and he said bethought there were three reasons: (i) they have 
great difficulty with communications, particularly in the 
North; (2) their lines are so long that if they now meet 
strong resistance they can be destroyed; (3) they have suffered 
such heavy losses that they need reenforcements which they 
are unable to get at present. 

"We can hold Shansi Province," General Wei said. Aske3 
how this was possible after repeated defeats, he answered, "By 
organizing and arming the people." 

I listened in astonishment. His words sounded like those of 
the Eighth Route Army men. 

"What have you done so far in this respect?" I asked him. 

"We have just started," he answered, and then replied to 
another question by saying that they have plenty of guns for 
this. 

I was tormented by thoughts of the Eighth Route Army 
of its months of patient urging that the people be organized 
and armed. They began this long ago but they did not have 

[212] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

sufficient arms. I thought of the whole series of mass meetings 
in the villages through which we had passed, and I thought 
of Chu Teh standing and talking to a mass meeting in the 
rain ... the people bent forward anxious to catch each breath 
from his lips . . . their faces tense and serious and eager, and 
everything about them eloquent of the deep determination 
and faith that lie in the heart of the Chinese people. . . . The 
rain poured and still they stood, never moving, never taking 
their eyes from Chu Teh's face. . . . 

These poignant memories returned to harass me and I 
ceased to think of the interview. 

The interpreter, still standing, was impatient at my silence 
and asked me what questions I had to ask. I was disconcerted 
and tried to return to the business of asking formal questions. 
But before I could a guard appeared in the doorway and said, 
"Airplanes have come!'* 

General Wei gathered up papers before him and told me to 
come. We had barely stepped outside headquarters and could 
go no farther. The dugouts were across a drilling field be- 
yond. General Wei shouted to men running toward the caves 
to halt and he pulled me back under the eaves of a little 
temple. 

"Look!" he said, pulling me out, and we both cautiously 
watched two planes directly above us. They moved a little 
beyond and then 

Crash! Crash! the bombs began to fall right beyond head- 
quarters, in the densely crowded street. General Wei bent 
close to the earth and I with him. And all about us and 
throughout the city anti-aircraft guns and machine guns began 
to roar. The planes continued to drop bombs and, crouching 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

low, I wondered how many there were. The whole city was 
turned into a battlefield. 

We watched the planes go beyond the city and the bom- 
bardment stopped. "They have gone!" I said. 

"No," General Wei said, "they are coming back!" 

We all ran across the drill field for the dugouts while the 
city literally rocked with the bombs and the bombardment 
again. 

The dugout was shallow and we crouched close to the 
earth, watching the planes through the entrance. From this 
position, General Wei began to ask me what foreign coun- 
tries thought of Japan's war on China. I told him of the move- 
ment of the people in America, England, France, India, the 
Soviet Union, and the messages from the Spanish Republican 
Government. This news excited him and he repeated it to men 
about us who had perhaps not heard because of the roar of the 
guns. 

He asked me what I thought of the Eighth Route Army 
and I told him that I was filled with the deepest admiration. 
I had seen them organizing and arming the people. "It's a 
fine army, with excellent, fearless fighters!" he exclaimed 
with sincere enthusiasm. 

"No, I am not a Communist," I said in answer to his ques- 
tion. "But," he protested, "the Communists are this " he lifted 
a closed fist from the earth, with one thumb extending up- 
right. This meant "A No. i!" 

When the air raid ended we left the cave, to meet a com- 
pany of Shansi soldiers only now rushing for the caves near 
us. With them came their khaki-clad officer. A bomb had 
landed near them, and splinters had cut his coat in many 
places, and had broken the badge on his cap, knocking the 

[214] 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

cap off but leaving him unharmed! He and General Wei 
discussed this, laughing in a way that is without amusement. 

The hour allotted me for my interview had come to an 
end. I left them and went into the street. Down the street were 
dense crowds of people. The bombs had struck. The dead and 
wounded were somewhere in the center of that crowd. Back 
in the local office of the Eighth Route Army, I learned that 
about a hundred people had been killed and wounded, most 
of them common people. Some of the bodyguard of General 
Fu Tso-yi, in the street at the time, were hit. 

I did not feel capable of viewing the mangled bodies of the 
dead and wounded. A motor truck was waiting to take us 
back to General Headquarters, and the driver kept urging us 
to hurry because the bombers might come again any minute. I 
got my guards out of bed, piled them and our bedding in the 
truck, and we were ready. But it was an hour before we 
could leave the city. We backed in an alleyway and waited 
while a long train of carts laden with military supplies passed. 
The carts were two-wheeled, and the wheels were solid wood 
with iron rims. Some of them were pulled by bullocks who 
took their own time. 

"What if the airplanes should come now?" I exclaimed. 

"The lao pet shtn (common people) do not care," the chauf- 
feur answered. "They won't hurry under any condition air- 
planes or no airplanes." 

On the long white ribbon of a motor road we made up for 
lost time. But twice we came to a halt. Groups of people stood 
in the middle of the road waving their rifles in the air at us. 

"Who are you?" the chauffeur asked. 

"Eighth Route Partisans . . . give us a lift!" They were 
young peasants between the ages of fifteen and twenty. They 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

were tall and strong, and youth and joy were in their faces. 

"Pile in!" the chauffeur answered. Then he grinned at me 
and said, "Fine, isn't it?" 

We reached the town of Hungtung at dusk. There, as if 
by a miracle, we ran into Hsu Chuen and Ting Ling. Hsu 
Chuen had come to the city in the hope of finding a public 
bath. He found one with dirt an inch thick on every side 
of the bath and a few hundred men sitting about on the sides. 
He decided to take no bath, I left Ting Ling in the streets and 
my guards and I set out across country. We had some twenty 
li to go to headquarters. 

The chauffeur watched us go. It was the end of the motor 
road. But we had gone only a few li when we heard the 
truck coming behind us. It was a dark night and travelers 
are often waylaid, he said. He would try to get through to 
headquarters. 

He tried for three hours. He managed to pass through two 
narrow village gates, but from others he had to back away 
for fully a quarter of a mile and take narrow cart roads that 
were often little more than foot paths. Whole villages poured 
out to give advice. The women had never seen a motor car 
before and old and young clogged the roads as they stared, 
gaped and pointed. At one place the men had to come out 
with picks and shovels and level a ridge before we could cross 
it. 

In my weariness, my sickness, and in the night's cold, I 
once exclaimed to myself, "My God! How can we expect 
these people to fight the Japanese they stare like animals at 
a motor truck I Look at the foot-bound women, disheveled 
and dirty, with their dirty babies. They grin like idiots at the 
headlights!" 



INTERVIEW AND BOMBARDMENT 

Then I exclaimed to myself anew, "Oh, ye of little faith!" 
And I thought of the history of the Eighth Route Army . . . 
and of the past month's experience as we moved down through 
Eastern Shansi, through such towns and villages as these. The 
first Red Army men came out of just such villages as this. 



A Breathing Spell and a Journey 



General Headquarters, Eighth Route Army 

December 5, 1937 

TODAY a guard from the Enemy Department came to call 
me to their rooms. A Japanese captive had arrived. Hsu Chuen 
has gone with Ting Ling to a village a few li from here, so 
1 went alone. 

In the room of the Enemy Department sat a man in 
Japanese uniform and coat, earnesdy engaged in conversa- 
tion with the other men there. At first I did not know that 
he was the prisoner. So many men of the Eighth Route Army 
are clad in Japanese clothing that he might have been a 
Chinese. In appearance he was Chinese with some slight 
distinctions that I cannot explain. Only when he stood up 
and bent low in greeting did I recognize him as a Japanese. 

He was a man with an unusually sympathetic face and 
manner. He was young twenty-seven, he said and a build- 
ing worker from Nagasaki. He had been a worker for fifteen 
years since he was a child of twelve. He was married and 
had a child. 

There was an air of directness and straightforwardness 
about him, but no trace of arrogance. Something about him 
was as real and as matter-of-fact as the earth and unusually 




^ 

"-ii 
o 









a 

I 




i 



'I 



I 



s 

** 

1 




Eighth Route Army soldier teaching new recruits to sing 




Men of the Enemy Worlds Department studying documents 
and diaries taken from captured Japanese soldiers 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

attractive. Everyone liked him, and he liked us. Before long 
we were all engaged in talk about every aspect of the war, 
about China and Japan, the Japanese Army, his life in the 
army, and about the Eighth Route Army. He answered all 
questions directly and sincerely, and without hesitation he 
asked questions about us and our life. 

He had been captured by Lin Piao's forces at the battle of 
Kwangyangchen on November 4th. He had been shot through 
the heck. When Eighth Route Army men carried him, 
wounded, from the battlefield, he took the knife from his 
scabbard and tried to kill himself by cutting his jugular vein. 

"Our headquarters, and all Japanese papers," he said, "told 
us that Chinese kill all captives. I thought you were going to 
cut off my head, after torturing me, so I tried to kill myself 
first. ... I have lost very much blood and so I am easily 
tired. . . . Look." He opened his coat. Next to his skin were 
two clean -blue cotton Chinese shirts. They had been washed 
well. But the inside of his jacket was one great stain of blood. 
The blood had stained the inside of his overcoat. The wound 
through the neck had injured a nerve so that he could hardly 
move his right arm. 

He had been taken to an Eighth Route Army hospital. The 
doctors treated him with great care, even with tenderness, he 
said. The wounded soldiers about him told him it was a lie 
that the Japanese wounded are killed. A man came from 
headquarters to talk with him and to tell him about the 
Eighth Route Army, and that it regards Japanese workers 
and peasants as its brothers. 

One of the men in the room turned to me and said, "When 
we explained to him in the hospital, he wept." 

He is now much better and he can walk and talk, though 

[219] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

his right arm healed slowly. Because he was lonely and had 
no one to talk with, he was sent here to General Headquarters 
where many men speak his language. 

Most men in the Japanese Army, he said, are opposed to 
war. They hate it. But they were given a military order to go 
to China, and they went. It would have meant imprisonment 
and death i they had not done so. Discipline is very rigid so 
any kind of organized movement against the war he consid- 
ers impossible. The soldiers are also told all kinds of things 
about how the Chinese slaughter Japanese, and how the 
Chinese behead all Japanese captives. So when they fight, 
they fight to the death, knowing that they have but a choice 
between deaths. 

We asked him if he witnessed the killing of any of the 
Chinese people. He said he personally was never present at the 
killings, but as his Division came south through Hopei Prov- 
ince to the junction at Shihchiachwang, he saw many dead 
bodies of Chinese peasants by the roadside. Their feet were 
bound with ropes and they had been killed by swords. He 
learned from other soldiers in his army they had been killed 
by officers of his Division. It was the same with the capture 
of Chinese women he had nothing to do with this, but he 
learned from other men that Chinese women had been cap- 
tured for the use of the army. He told us these things earnesdy 
and sincerely, and tried to recall the names of villages where 
he had seen the slaughtered bodies of the peasants. He was 
talking to us as he would talk to his close friends. 

We talked of the future, when the Japanese and Chinese 

workers and peasants would be masters in their own countries, 

and cooperate with each other as brothers. He agreed with us, 

and he asked question after question about the history of the 

[220] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

Red Army. In the past few years, he said, he had read two 
or three articles in the Japanese press about it. Now he wanted 
to know all about it. There was about him a kind of strong, 
firm, intelligent interest. You felt that anything you said to 
him would strike root and bear fruit. And in fact we talked 
just about this also what the Japanese workers could do in 
the future, what he himself could do, what we all could do 
to realize our goal. He told what he could and would do 
that he had thought about it since the second day of his cap- 
ture, when men had come to explain to him what the Chinese 
armies were fighting for, and what the Eighth Route Army 
was. He had considered his work for the future but that be- 
longs to his own life. 

Sometimes he bent his head and body in pain. He suffered 
much from his arm. We asked what we could do for him and 
he said we could do something to ease the pain. So we helped 
him strip to the waist while we considered what we could do. 
We applied hot steam compresses to his neck, shoulder, and 
arm to his infinite relief. 

"Oh, I can never forget you people throughout my life," he 
said. "My own mother was never kinder to me than you are. 
You do everything possible for me. You have cured me, you 
have bathed me, you have given me money for extra food and 
a guard to take care of my needs. I want nothing. How can I 
ever thank you?" 

"You do not need to thank us. You are one of our brothers, 
for you are a worker and you did not want this war. In the 
future we will work together to stop this war and all such 



wars." 



"Yes," he said, with lowered head and thoughtful face. "Yes. 

[221] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

In Japan I will explain to all the workers what I have learned 
in China." 

Tonight I took all the foreign newspapers loaned me by 
the missionaries in Hungtung, and went to Chu Teh's place. 
Jen Peh-si was there, and two other comrades, and we spent 
the evening reading and discussing the news. Jen Peh-si read 
to me the latest radio messages from Shanghai, particularly 
one about a Japanese military demonstration through the 
streets of the International Setdement in which an English- 
man and an American were beaten by Japanese soldiers. We 
discussed the anti-British movement being fostered in Japan 
by the militarists, and we discussed in particular the five 
points which Japanese militarists have presented to China 
before peace can be established. These five points are worth 
recording for all time, for they mean the total enslavement of 
China. They are: 

1. Recognition of "Manchukuo" and the formation of a 
China-Japan-"Manchukuo" bloc; 

2. An autonomous anti-Communist government for North 
China and Inner Mongolia, under Japanese protection, 
but controlling its own taxes and customs revenue; 

3. A Japanese inspector-general of customs, and Japanese 
advisers in all provincial departments, as well as a re- 
vision of Chinese tariffs to promote the exchange of 
Japanese manufactures against Chinese raw materials; 

4. General Chiang Kai-shek to make way for a Japanese 
president and China to join the anti-Communist bloc; 

5. China not to possess an army or war planes; a Peace 
Preservation Corps to be formed, and all commercial air 

[222] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

services to be managed, as well as airplanes supplied, by 
the Japanese. 

As I read out these terms from the foreign press, Chu Teh 
recorded them in Chinese in a book. When I reached point 4 
about a "Japanese, president for China," Chu did not under- 
stand. He lifted his head inquiringly. I repeated it. On his 
face was an expression I shall never forget, but which I can- 
not explain in words. Jen Peh-si and I began to laugh and 
then Chu Teh realized that I was really reading a Japanese 
demand. His only response was to join in our laughter, but 
not in amusement. His laughter was filled with anger. 

He also recorded the Japanese terms on the International 
Setdement in Shanghai, after which he and Jen Peh-si asked 
me what I thought the British and Americans would do. I 
thought they might accept the demands if there was any face- 
saving method by which they could do so. But the latest in- 
cident in which Japanese soldiers had demonstrated in the 
Setdement and attacked British and American citizens would 
perhaps make such an acceptance now impossible. 

"How long will it be now before the second world war 
begins?" Chu Teh asked me. 

I thought it would not be long. Jen Peh-si said he thought 
it might develop after Japan occupies Nanking and begins 
to drive all British and American interests from China in- 
cluding Shanghai. 

We discussed the Japanese traitor government established 
in Taiyiian. Wang Ying, who appears to be half-Mongol, 
though this is not certain, is head of this "government," a 
traitor named Nan Kwei-lan is a member, and the third is a 
fellow named Wen Tso-chuan. Wen Tso-chuan's home is 

[223] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

near us here. He is a rich landlord and was one of General 
Yen Hsi-shan's right-hand men. 

This traitor government's first action was to begin the cap- 
ture of Chinese women for the use of the Japanese troops. 
The Japanese have demanded three thousand women. The 
Japanese have dropped leaflets over the Chinese armies. Their 
first battle cry is "Annihilate the Communists"; their second 
is "The Japanese bring peace to East Asia"; their third is "The 
Chinese armies in Shansi cannot fight the Japanese, so the 
Chinese people are also incapable of doing this; therefore they 
must submit." 

Jen Peh-si told me that the Japanese are now using Partisan 
tactics in fighting the Eighth Route and other Chinese armies. 
They dare not use small Partisan bands, so they use large 
ones, all mounted. 

We talk until late at night, and Chu Teh makes coffee for 
us which keeps me awake all night so I can sit here in the 
cold and write! 

General Headquarters, Eighth Route Army 
December 12, 7937 

The days pass and we remain in one place. For this I am 
glad. It gives me an opportunity to work on a review of the 
Eighth Route Army campaign against the Japanese since they 
began in early September. 

Of all the armies in North and Northwestern China, the 
Eighth Route Army is drawing on itself the full weight of 
Japanese imperialism. Today, General Nagada N. Takeo, 
commander of the enemy troops in Taiyuan, issued a procla- 
mation to the Chinese people which expresses the hatred of 
the enemy against the army. This proclamation reads: 

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BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

"Because the Nanking Government has united with the 
Communists and the U.S.S.R., it is destroying and ruining 
China and the Far East. Because of this the Emperor's Army 
has come to save China. 

"The Emperor's Army has already occupied Nanking [this 
is not true A.S.] and now there remains to be conquered the 
Communist ghost, which disturbs the peaceful paradise which 
we have established." 

The proclamation goes on to tell the Chinese people to 
pursue their labors as in the past, but if they know of any 
disguised Reds, to report at once to Japanese headquarters. 
For this, the Japanese will reward them with money. The 
desired things for which money will be paid are three: 

1. Documents about the Red Army. 

2. Any information or thing relating to the Red Army. 

3. The condition within and the locations of the Red Army. 
We read this news today in headquarters. Jen Peh-si's face 

was grim. Chu Teh's kindly, friendly face was a picture of 
relendess hatred. As I watched Chu Teh I saw the enemy so 
terribly feared for many years by the oppressors of the poor. 
And I realized that I did not know this man at all. In Yenan 
I saw him under peaceful conditions, when he lectured daily 
in the Anti-Japanese University, when he studied the latest 
books we brought from Shanghai, and when he came to me to 
relate the story of his life. It was difficult for me to say what 
kind of man he was. As a comrade, a friend, a teacher, he 
was kind and gentle. As a man, he was tender-hearted, with 
a mind direct and uncomplicated, a man humble of spirit 
about himself. But today when we read the Japanese news, 
and a few days ago when we read the Japanese peace terms 
to Nanking, I saw a man I did not know a man whose 

[225] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

whole being was a rigid picture o hatred. I thought of the 
years during which he had fought against overwhelming odds 
against the armies sent to annihilate the revolutionary workers 
and peasants. The man I saw today was that man of these 
past ten years. 

A few days ago on December 8th I was in headquarters 
and someone showed me a document signed by the name of 
General Chiang Kai-shek. It was an official document con- 
ferring upon Chu Teh the title of commander-in-chief of the 
Eighteenth Army. So the name of the Eighth Route Army is 
changed, and it is no longer a "Route" but a full army. This 
is because of its rapid enlargement. I know little of these 
technical military affairs but I am told that a Route army is 
confined within certain limits, while a full army is not. 

We laugh at a change of name. The "Eighth Route" is now 
engraved on the hearts of the people, and we think they will 
not change to the new name. 

General Chiang Kai-shek remains true to the national 
united front, and this action of his proves it. The Japanese 
are conducting intensive activity throughout the country 
against the national united front. Their great song and dance 
is the "Communist menace." They offer Nanking peace if 
they will break with the Communists in China and enter the 
anti-Communist bloc of Japan, Germany and Italy, which 
means war not only on the Eighth Route Army but on the 
Soviet Union; and which means a world war for a new re- 
division of weaker peoples and natural resources among the 
robbers of the world. 

The German Ambassador, Dr. Trautmann, is very busy 
trying to induce General Chiang Kai-shek to enter in with 
the robber nations of the world, and to turn China into a 

[226] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

battlefield like Spain. There are elements in Nanking which 
would like to accept the Japanese-German proposals. They 
would sacrifice all China in the hopes that they might save 
their own miserable property. But up to the present time they 
dare not openly support the enemies of their country. 

Soon, when the Japanese take Nanking, we will see the 
formation of a new traitor government in that city. In Han- 
kow, the Germans held a meeting a few days ago and a 
speaker "predicted" this. The foreign newspapers report con- 
fidential conversations being exchanged between the German 
and Japanese Ambassadors and the German Ambassador and 
special Japanese envoys in China. 

Much news from the front pours in to us. Airplanes whose, 
we do not yet know are bombing the Japanese at Shihchia- 
chwang the junction on the Peiping-Hankow and the nar- 
row gauge line running up to Taiyuan. Also, the Japanese 
troops moving down the Pinghan line for months are now 
retreating to the north. We have most reliable news that from 
twenty to thirty thousand Japanese troops in Taiyiian have 
slowly and painfully marched down the Chentai railway (this 
was November I7th) and then up to the Peiping-Tientsin 
area, and many of them back to Japan. 

These twenty to thirty thousand Japanese troops are the 
sick, injured and exhausted who have been amongst the 
enemy forces of occupation in Taiyuan. The months of 
fighting left big holes in the Japanese Army. The Japanese 
deny this and try to present an iron picture to China. But 
this is a false picture. Not only are their troops weary and 
sick, but their death list is very large. They are also unable to 
feed their troops. They send out marauding parties to loot 
the countryside, but still this does not meet their needs. For 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

the Chinese armies, Partisans, and the people, have removed 
the crops to safe places. And so the enemy in Taiyiian had 
to send out about half of its forces. 

Until the Japanese occupied Taiyiian, they had no time 
and no energy to turn on the Eighth Route Army in their 
rear and try to do what they now refer to as "sweeping them 
out of North and Northwestern China." But now they are in 
the midst of a new offensive to try this. 

The Eighth Route Army recaptured many of the chief 
towns in North Shansi, Western Hopei Province, and in 
Southern Chahar towns that had been lost to the Japanese. 
The names are too many to mention and would mean little. 
But a few of the most important are: Linchow, Kwangling, 
Whenyuen, Wutai and Yiihsien, in Northeast Shansi; Lei- 
yuan in Hopei, with the whole region in Western Hopei 
Province right down to the Pinghan railway and some towns 
along that railway south of Peiping; Yangyiian and Weihsien 
(Yuchow) in Southern Chahar south of the Pingsui railway. 
The Eighth Route broke repeatedly the Pinghan railway and 
the Chentai in many places, thus halting Japanese communi- 
cations, harassing and wearing out the army of invasion. 

In Northwestern Shansi and Southern Suiyiian and right 
up to the western door of Tatung, the Eighth Route Army re- 
covered a number of big towns and villages from the Japanese, 
such as Pinglu, Ningwu, Tsingpingchen, and Yoyii, the latter 
a town on the border of Suiyiian and Shansi Provinces. And 
the main route of communication between Tatung and Sin- 
kow (northern gate to Taiyiian) was permanently broken. 
They fought the strong Japanese forces in the big towns of 
Tsohsien and Kuohsien in North Shansi along this route, but 
were unable to dislodge them because of the enemy artillery 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

and airplanes. In the northeast of Shansi again, the Eighth 
Route broke permanently the other main route of communica- 
tion from Peiping to Sinkow and Taiyiian. Japanese military 
trucks, sometimes one hundred and fifty and two hundred 
in a line, used to come bowling along these roads with great 
confidence. They would be guarded by one, two or three 
companies of troops, who sat on the trucks like gentlemen, 
grinning at their new domain. What happened to over one 
thousand of these trucks along these two lines is related in the 
diary of a dead Japanese regimental commander killed in 
action by the Eighth Route Army in the last week of Sep- 
tember. It reads: 

"One hundred and fifty of our trucks were destroyed and 
sixty of our soldiers, including a company commander, were 
killed by the Red Army here. In this place the women joined 
in the fighting and hurled hand grenades. I have received 
orders that all the population in this place must be killed." 

Not only did the Eighth Route destroy Japanese transport 
trucks, sometimes one hundred and fifty at one blow, but on 
the night of October i8th they raided the Japanese air base at 
Yenmenpao and destroyed twenty-one of the twenty-four 
bombers there. Also, down to the end of November, they had 
captured over a thousand military mules and horses, hundreds 
of rifles and great quantities of ammunition, about fifty ma- 
chine guns and a few field guns, quantities of medicine and 
other supplies. They killed about ten thousand Japanese. They 
organized, trained and armed tens of thousands of peasants 
for Partisan (guerrilla) warfare on the army of occupation. 
Chinese military men in Shansi declare that the Japanese have 
lost about thirty thousand of their men in this northwestern 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

campaign, including the Chentai railway zone and the fight- 
ing at Sinkow. 

The Japanese plans called for the occupation of Taiyiian by 
October 30th, and then they were to move southward along 
the Tungpu railway and occupy the whole province. They 
occupied Taiyiian on November pth and occupied a few towns 
south and east of the city, including Pingyao. Their conduct 
in Pingyao was typical of their activities everywhere; they 
entered the city, beat in the doors with their rifles, entered 
and searched for money, valuables, food and women. They 
looted the entire city though most of the population had fled 
and they raped and then carried off the young women for 
the use of their troops in Taiyiian. This story is told me by a 
foreigner who witnessed these scenes. 

But soon the Japanese began to retreat from Pingyao and 
from the other places they had occupied around Taiyiian. 
This followed the departure of the twenty to thirty thousand 
troops for North China and Japan. General Wei Li-hwang 
told me of this retreat when I was in Pingyangfu (Linfen) 
on November 28th. A week before that the retreat had begun 
and all the Chinese defenders of Shansi knew about it and 
knew the reason. 

However, this all was a preliminary to a new and big cam- 
paign against the Eighth Route Army in that broad belt across 
North Shansi that runs over into Western Hopei Province, 
down to the Pinghan railway, and up into Southern Chahar. 
First the Japanese drove a fresh force of ten thousand men 
south along the Pinghan railway to protect it from the Eighth 
Route Army and the people it had armed and led. Then they 
sent eight columns of troops against the Eighth Route Army 
throughout the region from the Pinghan line up to the center 

[230] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

of Northern Shansi, and another six columns of men into 
Northwestern Shansi and to the west of Tatung, their strong- 
hold. They boasted they were going to "sweep the Red Army 
out of North Shansi, Hopei and Chahar." 

Each column of men had from one thousand to fifteen 
hundred men in it, a few had from two to three thousand, 
and two or three had as few as seven hundred. Each column 
was protected by tanks and airplanes, carried artillery, and 
the columns operating in Chahar and Western Hopei all had 
cavalry units. There were from twenty to thirty thousand 
fresh troops in these fourteen columns. The first eight col- 
umns began operation against the Eighth Route in the third 
week of November; the last six began in the first week of 
December. 

Some of these columns operated in limited areas, but some- 
times three columns would converge on one imporant town 
held by the Eighth Route such as Leiyuan, or Fuping in 
Western Hopei, or Weihsien (Yuchow) in Southern Chahar. 

This campaign is now at its height and there is fierce fight- 
ing throughout North Shansi, Western Hopei, and Chahar 
and along the Chentai railway. In this fighting the Eighth 
Route is using the same tactics it has used for ten years. First, 
they have their roots in the mass movement. They have 
aroused, organized, trained, and armed the common people, so 
that often the whole population of a town, including women 
and children and the aged, fight the enemy with every weapon 
at their command. The Eighth Route forces are often quite 
small, but their strength is greatly increased by the united 
help given them by the people. 

We have reports from almost all the regions. One sounds 
like fighting in Kiangsi in the past. The Japanese column of 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

from two to three thousand which recaptured Ihsien on the 
Pinghan line, left a reserve force of another three thousand in 
Tinghsien behind it, then drove west against two important 
towns held by the Eighth Route Army. The Eighth Route 
did not fight such a formidable force, but evacuated towns. 
The population went with it, carrying all their foodstuffs, 
clothing and driving their pigs, goats and other animals before 
them. The Eighth Route, the Partisans, and the population 
waylaid the advancing Japanese and when they passed fought 
them with rifles, hand grenades, clubs, spears, and stones. 
They occupied high levels on either side of die road, defeated 
the Japanese, drove them back, and even captured one of the 
five tanks. A similar story comes from Chuyang in Western 
Hopei Province, though here the city was not surrendered, 
and remains still in the hands of the people. Similar tactics 
were adopted when a Japanese column approached Weihsien 
in Chahar, across a broad plain which enabled them to use 
their artillery, tanks, cavalry, and airplanes to great purpose. 
The Eighth Route and the people fought them at night and 
waylaid them in the hills around Weihsien, driving them back 
into the empty town when they ventured out to get food. 

A column which left Showyang on the Chentai railway 
moved against the large town of Yiihsien to .the north. A 
group of seven hundred peasant Partisans armed with two 
hundred rifles met them in early December, killing a hundred 
and losing five of their own men. On the next day the Eighth 
Route killed nearly two hundred of the enemy and lost about 
forty of their men. 

In North Shansi, a strong Japanese column moved against 
the town of Whenyuen, in late November. One company of 
Eighth Route Army men were in the city. With the popula- 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

tion they withdrew from the town and left it empty to the 
enemy. To the east they met a column of about seven hundred 
of their own comrades rushing to reenforce them. The two 
'forces united and waited for the enemy on a mountain known 
as Luanshihling. There on December ist they met them and 
fought one whole night, inflicting a heavy defeat on the 
enemy and losing forty of their own men. Amongst the 
Eighth Route wounded were twenty men whose hands had 
been frozen and turned black during that fierce night. 

Along the big road leading from Tatung south to Sinkow, 
Eighth Route Army men have killed from one to two thou- 
sand of the enemy. 

The big Japanese concentrations at Tsohsien and Kuohsien 
on this route are adopting new tactics* They have strong bat- 
teries along the river, and they send out raiding parties on 
nearby villages looting, slaughtering, raping. Throughout 
this whole region the peasant Partisans have met them, fight- 
ing ferociously, driving them back time and again, so that 
the whole region is a battlefield over which men fight all the 
time. 

In other places the Japanese have adopted what they dignify 
by the name of "political" methods. They have made them- 
selves Chinese uniforms and caps, and stuck Eighth Route 
badges on their left arms. Thus decked out they raid villages, 
slaughtering, pillaging, raping and carrying off young men. 
By these tactics they think they can undermine the faith of 
the people in the Eighth Route Army. But the Japanese do 
not speak the Chinese language, northern Chinese men are 
tall and strong, and the Japanese short and squat; and the 
Eighth Route Army wears no badges at all, and generally only 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

faded, shabby uniforms. So the people know the enemy and 
new thousands of men join the Partisans. 

The Japanese are busy with other "political" activities. In 
the big towns which they hold, they always form traitor "gov- 
ernments" from the local rich landlords and the gentry who 
often help them. But as a rule all the poor people have fled, so 
these governments cannot find enough Chinese to even con- 
stitute and enforce the decisions of the "Peace Preservation 
Committees" which they form. 

Acting through these traitor governments, the Japanese 
begin a reign of terror against all anti-Japanese elements or 
against all people whose property they wish. They order all 
people to register their property and capital by a fixed date, 
or have it confiscated as anti-Japanese. They have imposed 
new and more burdensome taxes. Since they cannot get the 
help of the people and cannot get food, they send out maraud- 
ing parties for pillage. One party, a battalion, was met south 
of Taiyiian in early December by two companies of the 
Eighth Route Army. The Eighth Route spread out over a 
big area and allowed them to come into their circle, then killed 
one hundred outright and injured large numbers who were 
carried away by the enemy, which retreated. The same fate 
has befallen other such pillaging gangs. 

The war is at its height. "Sweep out the Reds," cry the Jap- 
anese. And this cry they have further shouted to the Chinese 
armies in Shansi. Their airplanes have dropped handbills over 
the Chinese armies and over towns and villages. The Japanese 
have come to Shansi merely to fight the Communists, the 
handbills read, and to "establish peace in East Asia." They 
add that since the Japanese armies have defeated the Central 
Government and Shansi armies, the people need not hope that 

[234] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

they can do anything themselves. The Communists are deceiv- 
ing the people, they say, by declaring that they want to fight 
the Japanese. "Even if they could succeed, still they would 
merely turn and confiscate all your property afterwards," say 
these documents. Well, most Chinese have no property to be 
confiscated. So these appeals may affect the rich, which are 
about one per cent of the population. The rest are certainly 
anti-Japanese. 

Such is the campaign which we face today. . . . 

Japanese airplanes are scouring the skies again looking for 
us. They have begun sending planes over villages not far 
from us. Traitors are at work. In the Taiyiian traitor govern- 
ment is a rich landlord from this district. These are moonlight 
nights and planes can bomb. This night the Front Service 
Group gave a performance in this village, and in the midst of 
it we heard the zooming of airplanes coming toward us. Chu 
Teh was speaking at the time, giving a review of the inter- 
national and national situation, and telling of the latest news 
from the front where the Eighth Route is fighting. 

I can hear planes when they are a great distance away, and 
I heard them coming. But I did not give a warning lest I be 
wrong. I thought it might be the radio station. But as they 
came nearer and no one else heard, I motioned to Chu Teh 
on the platform to put out the light above his head. He hesi- 
tated, looked about, did not understand, and then continued. 
I told those about me the airplanes were coming. Someone 
said it was the radio station. Then the planes began zooming 
nearby and men on the roof watching the play and listening 
to Chu Teh's speech shouted that the airplanes were coming. 
Only then were the lights put out. 

The audience this night consisted of masses of our army, 

[235] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

and of all men from headquarters, and of hundreds of vil- 
lagers. They had crowded into a compound before a temple, 
and the temple had been transformed into a stage. There was 
but one exit. I was filled with a sense of horror as I saw this 
dense crowd. Men shouted not to hurry, not to run, but to 
wait as they stood. And they waited, never moving. I forced 
my way through the crowd and got outside where other crowds 
stood watching the sky to the north. The planes were travel- 
ing over villages a short distance from us. We heard them 
go, farther and farther away. And then I went back into the 
compound to hear Chu Teh's voice speaking from the dark- 
ness. He was continuing his lecture, and all the men had 
returned and were listening quietly. 

The Eighth Route Army is used to air raids. I thought I 
was, but I find I am not. One bomb on us tonight would have 
finished the General Staff. We stand always in the shadow of 
death. For ten years this army has stood in the shadow of 
death, has tasted death on a thousand battlefields. In this dark 
shadow they continue to talk to the people, to educate them, 
to organize and train them. Firmly they stand and firmly they 
fight. And because of their spirit and the message they bear to 
mankind, I know that it is an honor that I can stand with 
them in this same shadow. In the cities where life is called 
"normal" I always feared I would die before I could ever 
reach this army and learn of its life and thought. I did not 
want to die. Nor do I now. But since one must die, I am at 
peace here, and here I would rather die, if need be, than in 
any other place on the earth. I hope this will not be, and I do 
not like the thought. There is much to be done, and I wish 
to live long and see a free China and a new human society 
free from exploitation. 

[236] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

How sweet the earth is, and how often sad! Tonight I re- 
turned home in the moonlight, which turned this ancient 
village into a dark, mysterious heap of shadows. At the end 
of the alleyway leading to the house where I live is a little 
temple. I had not noticed it before, but tonight in the moon- 
light it stood there, dark, beautiful. Grass has taken root be- 
tween the tiles on the gargoyled roof. The moonlight glinted 
on the shining, dry grass blades. ... At the gate of my com- 
pound stand two tall trees, bare of all except the dry pods of 
beans that are their fruit. In the wind they rustle mournfully, 
filling my heart with sadness, and yet with a consciousness of 
the beauty of the earth. 

Somewhere in South Shansi 
December 18, 79-57 

"How times change!" remarked the old missionary reflec- 
tively as he studied the book in his hand. It was in Chinese, 
which he read fluently, and its title was What is Fascism? 
With it was a letter in Chinese written and signed by Chu 
Teh. 

The day before this book was sent to him, the old mission- 
ary asked me if Chu Teh would accept a copy of the New 
Testament. It was the only Chinese translation of the Bible 
the old man had; it had been a birthday present to him years 
before, and he treasured it. Chu Teh's reply was to thank him 
in advance for it, and to give him the book he now held in 
his hand. 

Times change indeed. The old missionary and his beloved 
wife were both over sixty-five years of age. They had lived in 
China for over forty years. They had been caught in the whirl- 
wind of the Boxer uprising and from a concealed place in 

[237] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Sian had watched the Imperial Court as it prepared to return 
to Peiping. Through a window they had watched the old 
Empress Dowager and the ill-fated Kwang Hsu. The road 
they were to travel through the Northwest back to Peiping 
had been leveled to a smooth surface free of dust, and over 
that road they also had traveled to Shansi to preach Christian- 
ity to the "heathen." 

The old missionary had lived through all the momentous 
changes after that the 1911 Revolution, the years of civil war 
that followed, the famines and floods of the Northwest, the 
Great Revolution of 1925-27 and the years of warfare after 
that. The Chinese Red Army had made its "Long March," a 
military epic unparalleled in history save for the campaigns 
of Genghis Khan, and had invaded Shansi Province and laid 
siege to the very city in which the old missionary preached 
the Gospel. That was only two years ago. He had watched 
the Nanking Government airplanes swoop low and bomb the 
Red Army. Since that time he had learned of the national 
united front welded in China, and then the Red Army had 
returned to Shansi to fight the Japanese. It now fought in the 
north, in the south, the east and the west. The common people 
had come bearing tales of its courage and of its swift Partisan 
tactics with which the Japanese had been unable to cope; they 
had come bearing tales of the high discipline of the army, of 
its protection of the people, of its ideas that were drawing 
countless numbers of young men into its ranks. And some of 
the young Christian converts of the missionary had turned 
their eyes to this army which was Communist and "heathen.* 1 
To one of the missionaries some of these young Chinese Chris- 
tians had said: 

"You have told us to pray to God. Yet still the Japanese 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

have captured Shanghai and Nanking and all North China." 

"Pray, do not think," the missionaries had replied. 

"Think, arm yourselves and prepare to fight!" the Eighth 
Route Army had told them. 

There was turmoil in the minds of some of the missionaries 
about the Eighth Route Army which they had so feared. For 
decades they had firmly believed that only Christianity filled 
the heart with enough mercy to lead men to care for the 
wounded, to be gentle and kind to the people, to teach them 
with love and patience. Yet the Eighth Route Army cared for 
its wounded, was gentle and kind and patient with the people, 
taught and protected them and ruthlessly rooted out those 
that injured them. 

I had told the missionaries of things I had witnessed with 
the Eighth Route Army. One had exclaimed in consternation, 
"But they are heathens! I have never before heard that heathens 
would care for the wounded." 

I asked her to think of the Christian treatment of the 
wounded before the Crimean War and before the American 
Civil War. She had never thought in terms of history, but 
only in terms of her faith. She did not understand how the 
Eighth Route Army could be what it was and still be without 
a religious faith. If only the Eighth Route Army would accept 
Christianity, it would be a perfect army! 

What thoughts lay in the hearts of this old missionary and 
his wife I do not know. Long years had given them much 
wisdom and tolerance. Something in their individual natures 
had left them free from fanaticism. They had sent money to 
the hospital of the Eighth Route Army. The woman who 
thought of this army as "heathens" also sent money and gloves 
for the wounded. And then the old gendeman had presented 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Chu Teh with his precious copy of the Bible, and Chu Teh 
had presented him with a book on the true nature of Fascism. 

Oh yes, times change, and the future will see greater changes 
still 

I spent two nights in the home of the old missionary and 
his wife. We were waiting to travel to another city where the 
mission had a hospital. I was going in the hope that the doc- 
tors would sell me some medicine for the Eighth Route Army. 
To induce them to do this the old missionary was going with 
me. His hospital cared for hundreds of the Chinese wounded, 
but still the Eighth Route needed medical supplies. They must 
find a way to help. And they did. I write this after that trip. 
The old missionary, the doctor in charge of the hospital, my 
guard and I, spent a number of hours in the hospital store- 
room. We selected, measured, bottled, labelled each package, 
and finally packed all carefully for the return trip. Since we 
had an Eighth Route Army truck, we also helped one of 
the women missionaries evacuate from the city which was a 
target for Japanese bombers. 

We returned to the home of the old missionary and his wife 
and I spent another night there before undertaking the long 
trip to the Eighth Route Army headquarters. After supper a 
little bell tinkled in the courtyard of the mission compound. 
The old lady smiled at me and explained: 

"Call for prayer meeting." 

I did not take part in the prayer meeting, but I listened as 
they all knelt before their chairs or sat with their heads bent 
and eyes closed. I wondered what missionaries prayed about 
in troubled, war-torn times. 

The first man to pray was the director of a Bible School. 
Though he would perhaps protest still his prayer was polit- 
[240] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

ical. He asked God to bring the war to an end, to lead China 
to freedom, independence, peace and prosperity. He asked 
that "those in authority" be given the vision and the wisdom 
to guide China to independence and prosperity. He asked for 
the protection of the missionaries in other regions of Shansi. 

The old missionary, kneeling humbly with his face buried 
in his hands, called to God to rebuke the Japanese, to destroy 
their airplanes that were bombing the Chinese people, bring- 
ing suffering and death. He also asked that "those in author- 
ity" be given wisdom and vision to guide China to peace, in- 
dependence and prosperity, and he asked that the Chinese 
people be imbued with the courage to endure their great 
suffering. He asked God's protection of all his missionary 
colleagues, for Mr. James Bertram, the English newspaper 
correspondent who was in a zone of danger, and for "the 
guest within our house." He prayed that Chu Teh, and Mao 
Tse-tung, be protected and given the vision to guide their 
people to peace and independence. He prayed for the Chinese 
wounded, and as he prayed the voices of the others echoed 
"Amen." One woman sobbed. 

His voice trailed away and then his wife, the old lady whose 
heart has room for all things that breathe, began to pray for 
the wounded. The wounded, she said, were without medicine 
and many without care of any kind, and she asked God to 
intervene in His mercy to enable medicine to be brought to 
them, to help restore communications that the medicine might 
be transported. 

"Blessed Father, protect the Eighth Route Army. Protect its 
wounded for whom it cares. Enable them to get medicine, 
give them courage and vision in their struggle.*' 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

"Amen!" echoed the others as she prayed to the God in 
Whom she believed with all her heart. 

Why the other missionaries called this old lady "Mother of 
Israel" I do not know. Perhaps they feel that they are exiles 
in a foreign land. They dress as the Chinese dress, yet they 
maintain the homes, the food, and the standards of their own 
lands. But the old lady has broken most connections that 
bound her to her family and her country. She thinks of China 
as her home and her speech is a strange mixture of Chinese 
and English. 

"I speak an old woman's language," she once said cheerfully 
to me, when referring to her Chinese. "I work much with the 
women. And my language is also religious. Still, I've learned 
almost everything Chinese except the swear words." 

"I can teach you those," I assured her, and she laughingly 
thanked me. 

She was never trained in medicine, but she attends women 
at childbirth, ably assisted by their husbands. Women and 
babies with all kinds of ailments come to her. During her life 
in out-of-way places in China for forty years, she has read 
medical books and has become a kind of country doctor. She 
told me how to prepare ordinary cotton for antiseptic cotton, 
how to use certain eye medicines, and she told me of the trees 
that bear a bean that can be used as soap. 

She is a Christian, but she has few of the traits of many of 
them. She is bold and outspoken and there is no prudery or 
fanaticism about her. In speaking of the wounded of the other 
Chinese armies, I told her how we often found them along the 
roads, and I asked her advice about the treatment and binding 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

of a groin wound. I had examined one man, and had disin- 
fected and bound up a wound, but found great difficulty in 
bandaging a wound in the groin. A missionary woman had 
protested and said: 

"Oh, why do you do that? Get some man to do it! You 
should not do such a thing!" 

"Why not?" I had asked her. "Would you have me pass by 
a wounded man merely because the wound was in the groin?" 

"Yes indeed," the Mother of Israel exclaimed when I told 
her. "I would do the same as you! And why not? Such things 
do not bother me in the least. He is a wounded man. We 
must help." 

When she has no specific work to do, or when talking with 
friends the Mother of Israel spends all her time knitting tiny 
woolen socks for babies. In their mission compound are large 
numbers of Chinese refugees who fled from Taiyiian when 
the Japanese occupied that city. Here babies are born, with 
the Mother of Israel attending. And these tiny socks she gives 
to the newborn. Nor does it matter to her if the mother is 
Christian or "heathen." She believes so firmly in her faith 
that she does not have to talk much about it. One , morning 
as she knit socks, she glanced at me over her glasses and talked 
of God and heaven and hell. She was quite cheerful about it 
and she seemed to believe in the existence of God much as I 
believe in the existence of the Eighth Route Army. 

"I don't want to stuff religion down your throat," she cheer- 
fully assured me with a smile. "I merely tell you what I be- 
lieve. God is as real to me as my husband or my friends here 
in this room are real. I believe in heaven and in hell. I believe 
I will go to heaven when I die. Oh, of course I don't believe 

[243] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

in the God that so many people do, and I also think that 
when Judgment Day comes many missionaries and many 
other Christians will be found wanting." 

As she talked I could picture her in heaven talking with 
God. And since I am a "heathen" and she a Christian with 
the right to argue with God, I could picture her arguing about 
my lost soul. She would induce Him to reach out somewhere 
in infinity, or down in the fires of hell and grab my erring 
soul by the nape of its neck and yank it right up by her side 
before the heavenly throne. Then I know she would do the 
same with all the Eighth Route Army, including Chu Teh 
and Mao Tse-tung, and she would cheerfully announce to us : 

"Now, didn't I always tell you there was a God and a 
heaven? Well, here is the proof." 

As it is, she prays God to protect me today, and she depends 
on Him to do it. 

"Very well," I cheerfully reply. "You depend on God, but 
I'll depend on the Eighth Route Army. And we will also do 
all we can to protect you here." 

"Well, if these Japanese come here," she burst out, "I'll 
never hang out a Japanese flag. Ill never be a traitor to my 
country." 

"My country," she said, and I believe she was thinking of 
China. For she does not know exactly to which country she 
belongs, unless it is to China. "One thing is certain," she said, 
"we're not neutral. Certainly not! And we depend on the 
Eighth Route Army to help us continue to live and work in 
China/' 

"I'm certain the Eighth Route Army will do everything to 
make that possible," I assured her. 

[244] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

"They are fine people/' she said. "I'm very unimportant, but 
I'd like to meet Chu Teh." 
How times change! 

Headquarters, Eighth Route Army 
December 19, 7957 

Captain Evans Carlson, American military attache to the 
American Embassy in China, arrived at our headquarters a 
few days ago. He has come as a military observer and is soon 
leaving for the front, going to a location that is the most dan- 
gerous of all in the Northwest. Three columns of Japanese are 
trying to converge on that place Wutaishan and there is 
fierce fighting there and along the route he will take. The 
Eighth Route Army headquarters warned him against such a 
venture, and said they could not take responsibility for his 
life. If killed by the Japanese, as is possible, the Japanese would 
say the Eighth Route Army had killed an American, and try 
to make capital out of it. So Captain Carlson wrote a letter to 
the American Ambassador, and a similar one to the Eighth 
Route Army, stating that he was going on his own responsi- 
bility and that neither the Eighth Route Army nor the Chinese 
Government need be held responsible in case he is killed. 

I have spent much time with Captain Carlson. He has had 
many conferences in headquarters, asking about the military 
organization of the Eighth Route Army, its tactics, its politi- 
cal training. He saw the piles of captured Japanese documents, 
everything from diaries to the complete organization of Jap- 
anese divisions in the Northwest, their maps and plans of 
operation. Captain Carlson is carried off his feet by such 
things, for no other army had captured such enemy material. 
With a dry smile he looked at the Japanese coats many Eighth 

[245] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Route Army men are wearing, and was astounded that we 
have four thousand such coats, hundreds of horses and mules 
and great quantities of other captured war trophies. 

It is astounding to me that Captain Carlson, a military at- 
tache, has never before made a study of the Partisan tactics 
which the Eighth Route Army uses and which it used for the 
past ten years. He is convinced that it is the one method of 
fighting for all the Chinese armies. He is also astounded at the 
education of the Eighth Route Army, all of which comes 
under the term "political training/' He has never before seen 
an army that is educated in every aspect of the national and 
international situation, and is fully conscious of the results i n 
case it is defeated, or in case it is victorious. When told how 
fighting units meet in conference before going to battle to 
discuss their own and the enemy positions, strengths anci 
weaknesses, and what will be the result if they are defeated, he 
was astonished. His reaction was the same when he learned 
that the various fighting units always hold meetings after each 
battle to analyze the battle, and to recognize their mistakes, if 
any, and to recount the good points of their fighting. The 
voluntary discipline of the army also astounded him and this 
he had an opportunity to see, and will have the opportunity 
to see in the future. 

Mr* Carlson and I have taken long walks each day, have 
ridden far over the country, and have spent hours talking 
about this army and about everything bearing on the present 
war. It is interesting for me to meet an American man after 
such a long time. He is a typical American in many respects. 
This means that he has high technical, but very little political 
training. He is of poor family and has made his own way in 
the military service. And he has accepted without much ques- 

[246] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

tion the whole outlook of capitalism. To him, the education, 
voluntary discipline, and conduct of the Eighth Route Army 
is "idealism." He, like so many Americans, seeks the "good 
man," the good individual. He can justify America's occupa- 
tion of Nicaragua he was an officer in that army of occu- 
pation by telling me incidents in which he performed indi- 
vidual good acts and rooted out corruption. He knows nothing 
of the basic principles which motivate the Communists 
throughout the world, and which motivate the Eighth Route 
Army. The things he admires in the Eighth Route Army are 
not "ideals" of a few leaders which they impart to the army, 
but basic Communist principles. 

Of course General Headquarters did not engage in such 
discussions with Captain Carlson. It confined itself to stating 
facts as he wished to know them. But he and I came to the 
class struggle, though there was so much to discuss of world 
affairs that we did not linger on this subject. 

As a woman, I could not let pass what I knew of the con- 
duct of the Eighth Route Army toward the women of their 
country. Not even the blackest enemy of the army can charge 
it with molesting women, of introducing prostitution or of 
using prostitutes. Is it "idealism," I asked Captain Carlson, 
that prevents the Eighth Route Army from such conduct? No, 
not a bit of it. The Eighth Route Army is made up of the 
sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers of the workers and peas- 
ants who constitute fully 99 per cent of the Chinese people. 
They are trained to know that they, sons of the workers and 
peasants, are the only protection the people have. Can such 
men rape or use as prostitutes the women who are their own 
class sisters who are often in fact their sisters, wives or 
mothers, or the sisters, wives or mothers of the comrades about 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

them? Wherever the Eighth Route Army goes, men from 
every locality enter its ranks. There is not a company but has 
these men in it, and if other men should even dare use women 
for purposes of prostitution, they would meet the firm opposi- 
tion of the men by their sides who are either the brothers, sons 
or husbands of those women. It is the women of the workers 
and peasants who are always taken as prostitutes by armies 
almost never the women of the rich. To touch a working 
woman, a peasant woman, is to step on the feet of the Eighth 
Route Army. 

Then what about the sex needs of the Eighth Route Army? 
Those sex needs find no physical outlet. But every minute of 
leisure of the army is used either for education or for recrea- 
tion. From reveille at dawn to taps at night, the men of this 
army go from one form of work or recreation to another. An- 
other fact can be added to this: that the majority of the army 
are under or around the age of twenty. In the army are masses 
of men who entered its ranks when they were adolescents. 
They are virgins. They have never known sex experience. 
Once the American newspaperman, Edgar Snow, called this 
army a "virgin army." That is not exactly true. But it seems 
to me true that men who have never known sex experience 
and who live the rugged, active life of this army, do not find 
the need for sex expression as do other men. Add to these facts 
its deep and broad education, and you have what Captain 
Carlson calls the "most self-restrained, self-disciplined army I 
have ever seen in my life." 

One day I introduced Captain Carlson to some missionaries, 
and they seemed deeply concerned that I, a woman, lived in 
the army, and that there were five or six Chinese women in it. 

[248] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

I heard Captain Carlson answer with deep and moving sin- 
cerity: 

"I can tell you honestly that any woman could live in that 
army without the least fear of molestation. It is, I believe, the 
most self-restrained, self-disciplined army in the world. What 
I have seen is a revelation, an experience I shall never forget." 

Of course Captain Carlson did not accept all I said without 
protesting here and there, without presenting his own ideas 
and opinions. Once he cautioned me that I was so wrapped 
up in this army that I could see little else, and so could not be 
impartial. To this I replied: 

"Of course I am not impartial and make no such pretence. 
Yet I do not lie, do not distort, do not misrepresent. I merely 
tell what I see with my own eyes and experience day by day. 
This is the truth. Why am I in this army and not in another? 
With all my heart, with all that gives me consciousness, I am 
convinced of the high purpose, the integrity of this army. I 
know of the great heroism of the Chinese troops that fought 
from Shanghai to Nanking. But it is with the Eighth Route 
Army that I want to live and work." 

December 28, 1957 

The days have passed and I have had no time to write. Cap- 
tain Carlson, guarded by a squad of men armed with sub- 
machine guns, left for the front, taking Li-po with him as in- 
terpreter. With them went a small caravan of mules bearing 
what medicine, cotton, and bandages we had. It was a sad 
little caravan and the medicine all too litde. The cotton was 
not absorbent. The boxes of medicine too few. If we only 
could get more medical supplies through! 
They will pass through the Japanese lines and go to Wu- 

[249] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

taishan. They will be in enemy-occupied territory for the 
latter part of their journey. Yet the Eighth Route Army and 
the Partisans hold that region; the Chentai railway, presum- 
ably in the hands of the Japanese, can be crossed by our forces 
in many different places. 

I tried to go with the party, but there was almost a pitched 
battle in headquarters about it. Everyone protested. The intel- 
lectuals warned me about "danger." But I was not the only 
one in "danger." Everyone going was in danger. As for my 
strength it is greater than Li-po's. True, he must go as in- 
terpreter and there is no other way. I can use guns, though 
some men going cannot. I can ride as well as most men. The 
argument came down to this that headquarters did not want 
me to go because of two things: I was a foreigner, and I was 
a woman. At least this was my challenge to them. But I could 
give a written statement to the American Ambassador that in 
case of my death only the Japanese should be held responsible. 
If I could not go because I was a woman, then that was an 
injustice unparalleled. Headquarters denied that this was the 
reason. Chu Teh said they wanted me to live and work, and 
not go to Wutaishan and die. Chinese are dying in Wutaishan, 
I argued, but Chu Teh replied with justice, "That cannot be 
helped." 

At last Jen Peh-si gave way and said, "All right, go!" And 
Chu Teh added, "We will give a very strong force to protect 
you." 

Well, at that I backed down. I could see that if I went, a 
strong force of men would have to be withdrawn from other 
necessary duties just to guard me. I did not want that. With 
mingled misery and resentment I gave up the plan. In Wu- 
taishan one of the most decisive campaigns of China is being 
[250] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

waged by the Eighth Route Army and thousands of armed 
peasants. I wanted to live through that campaign. Captain 
Carlson promised to give me a full account when he returned. 
It will not be the same as if I lived through it, but it will help. 
With heavy heart I have agreed to remain behind and go to 
another front a little later. 

Captain Carlson tried to comfort me. He is a strong man, 
he said, trained in the ways of war for twenty-five years. True, 
no one was born on the battlefield and all men had to learn it 
from experience. But there is fierce fighting all over Wu- 
taishan and surrounding region, men will have to carry their 
own bedding and packs, and guns in addition, fight continu- 
ously and often do the famous two-hundred-li-a-day march of 
the Red Army. . . . 

As Captain Carlson talked, one of our men was in the room 
repairing his watch. Workers of every kind are in the Eighth 
Route Army, and Captain Carlson's bodyguard went out and 
found a watchmaker. He came in, took the watch apart, and 
with a few little instruments from his pocket repaired it and 
returned it to its owner. I gave him my own watch to repair. 
He put it in order and then told me he could repair cameras, 
flashlights and, he thought, my typewriter if it is ever out of 
order. We were all delighted at his dexterity. He is blind in 
one eye, but still he can repair watches. He was a worker in 
Honan Province, he said, and has been in the army for seven 
years. 

Well, they have left for Wutaishan. And yesterday I rode to 
Linfen, eighty li away, to have a tooth pulled! In our army we 
do not have even one dental instrument and, of course, no 
such luxury as a dentist. So I made off country toward the mis- 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

sionary hospital. I returned at ten last night* The sky was 
overcast and not even a shred of the crescent moon could be 
seen. The last ten miles of the trip I walked and all the way 
back. I was very tired. One becomes soft living like this in 
headquarters. 

In Linfen the missionary doctors told me of the Japanese 
bombers who had raided that city, and also the city of Hung- 
tung, on December 26th. In Linfen two bombers dropped ten 
bombs and killed eight goats which they seemed to think were 
horses and men. 

The same planes bombed the undefended city of Hung- 
tung. One bomb killed three children; a man, his daughter 
and one donkey were killed by another; five soldiers and a 
number of peasants were wounded, of whom two soldiers and 
two of the peasants died yesterday. 

The day before these bombings Japanese planes dropped 
handbills over Linfen, stating that if General Yen Hsi-shan 
did not remove all the Chinese armies from Shansi Province 
by the end of the year, the Japanese would advance and drive 
them beyond the Yellow River. As for the Eighth Route 
Army it would be destroyed by December 30th! 

As for "destroying the Eighth Route Army by December 
30th/* that is a Japanese desire, a boast. They can no more 
destroy this army than they can pick up a handful of water. 
Not only can they not destroy it, but great changes may soon 
take place which will make this army stronger than ever and 
give it command over regions it has never controlled before. 
General Chiang Kai-shek and the Supreme War Council have 
adopted mobile warfare tactics in all the armies and the Jap- 
anese are being compelled to face mobile units in the Shang- 
hai-Nanking area and along all the railway routes. Their 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

heavy artillery cannot do much damage to such forces, while 
such units can harass and wear them out. And so, instead of 
the short, swift campaign by which the Japanese intended to 
bring China "to her knees" the Japanese Emperor has had to 
warn the Japanese war machine that they must be prepared 
for a long struggle in China. 

General Headquarters, Eighth Route Army 
December 31, 1937 

For about three weeks we have watched small units of new 
volunteers moving across the country paths to the General 
Headquarters of our army, or to the headquarters of the 
H5th Division a short distance away. They were nearly all 
poor peasants, with some workers among them. Today my 
guard rushed in to tell me to go quickly to the streets to see 
a whole regiment of new volunteers. He grabbed my camera 
and we rushed out to the main street of the village where we 
are located, and then to the fields beyond. The regiment was 
moving slowly across country, winding along the country 
paths. Many of them were already in uniform, but others 
were not, and only about two hundred of the whole regiment 
had rifles. A few had hand grenades slung in pockets about 
their waists. Nearly all were young men around the age of 
twenty, but some were older and a very few younger. They 
were brown, strong men with toil-worn hands and it was 
clear that most of them had come from the fields. Most of 
them had single padded quilts which they had brought from 
their homes, and some carried a few little things tied up in 
handkerchiefs or old rags. In the column were two banners 
that gleamed blood-red in the early morning sun. They were 

[253] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK. 

united front banners the Kuomintang sun symbol in a big 

red field 

Coming back from the fields, I saw a sight which I suppose 
could be seen only in the Eighth Route Army. A commander 
was passing through the streets and a fighter, who in other 
armies would be called a private, was coming toward him. 
The "private" halted and saluted, the commander returned 
the salute. Then the two men turned, one threw his arm 
around the shoulder of the other, and they walked down the 
street, heads down, engaged in a conversation that seemed to 
be quite exciting and joyous. For they were laughing and one 
talked rapidly. 

My two guards are sitting on a bench as I write this. They 
have their arms around each other's shoulders and they are 
engaged in a conversation about Fascism. They have just re- 
turned from a class and it is clear that the lesson was about 
Japanese, German and Italian Fascism. Their talk is liberally 
sprinkled with their favorite curse about the conduct of the 
mothers of the Fascist enemies. They talk about the Italian 
Catholic priest near Taiyiian who is helping the Japanese. 
This priest, at Tungerguo, has been to Taiyiian many times 
and has begun to spread the rumor that an Eighth Route 
Army regimental commander named Wu Yang-kwei had 
come to his mission and demanded $100,000 and ten thousand 
pairs of shoes. "The Eighth Route Army is a bandit army," 
the Italian is telling the people, and "the Japanese have come 
to destroy banditry and bring peace to China." 

"Ma-di-%eh-pi!" exclaim my guards. 

They tell me many things about the Italians who are help- 
ing the Japanese. While Italian airplane pilots and instructors 

[254] 



BREATHING SPELL AND JOURNEY 

were in Nanking, they say, they made a mosaic map of the 
entire region reaching from the mouth of the Yangtze River 
to Nanchang. This map then disappeared and a copy was 
found in the hands of a Japanese pilot shot down by Chinese 
pilots. All institutions, military and political, foreign em- 
bassies, and all Chinese schools or universities were clearly 
marked on the map and had been designated as targets. What 
the Italians did in the Yangtze basin German pilots have done 
in other regions of China over which they have flown, my 
guards tell me. "Ta Ma!" they sullenly end their explanation, 
cursing the Fascists with their classic expression. . . . 



[255] 



The New Year Begins 



General Headquarters, "Eighth Route Army 

January i, 1938 

THE New Year has come a difficult year for China. News 
from the various fronts reaches us. Tsinan fell to the enemy 
a few days ago, Hangchow fell, and the Japanese are prepar- 
ing a three- or four-month campaign to capture Canton, the 
Canton-Hankow railway, Hankow itself, and the railway 
northward to Peiping. We have been able to get an English 
newspaper from Hankow, and some old papers and maga- 
zines from Shanghai and America have arrived. Even the 
Hankow newspapers are a week late. Our radio has given us 
the bare oudine of some of the most important news. 

Last night I took the Hankow and Shanghai newspapers, 
and the October issue of the little New York magazine, China 
Today, to headquarters to give Chu Teh and the rest of the 
staff the latest news. As always, Chu Teh brought out a thick 
black notebook in which he records all the most important 
national and international events. As my interpreter and I 
read, Chu Teh wrote down the important items. It is of in- 
terest to me to see what he writes. Never does he miss one 
breath of news about the international movement in defense 
of China. He recorded all the details given of the Madison 

[256] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

Square Garden mass meeting in New York in defense of 
China on October ist, and of its collection of funds for medi- 
cal supplies, clothing, and money for China. The New York 
radio lectures about China, the movement in America, 
France, England, and India for the boycott of Japanese goods, 
all found a place in his notebook and later will appear in the 
army publications and be used as material for speeches to the 
troops and the people. Longer articles giving important in- 
formation are translated into Chinese, to be used in full by 
the army in its lessons. 

Chu Teh also records every important scrap of information 
about military, political, social, economic conditions in Japan. 
He wrote down the reported speech of the Japanese Emperor 
warning the Japanese war machine and people that the war 
in China would last for a long time. Chu asked that one long 
article in China Today, giving concrete material about Jap- 
anese economic gains from China, be translated in full for 
him. He listened with interest to reviews of books, and he 
asked questions about them which we could not answer be- 
cause we have not seen the books. He questioned us in detail 
about a series of articles on Soviet China of the past, running 
in the New Republic, and about various articles in Pacific 
Affairs. He was deeply interested in American and British 
reactions to the sinking of their gunboats in the Yangtze by 
the Japanese. His face became lined with contempt when we 
read to him an article from the British daily newspaper in 
Shanghai advising the Nanking Government to follow Mus- 
solini's advice and sue for peace with the Japanese. The paper 
argued that now since the Chinese had shown heroic protest, 
they could, without humiliation, sue for peace. 

Every shred of news that Chu Teh can get about President 

[257] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Roosevelt's speeches must be translated. All the speeches of 
American Congressmen for or against Japan he listens to 
with deep interest, while others of his staff discuss with him 
the implications of such speeches. 

My New Year's Eve was spent in this fashion, in head- 
quarters. 

Today, from morning to night, I worked on a variety of 
things writing letters about medical needs of the Eighth 
Route Army; working on a series of articles. This evening I 
went over to the Enemy Department to a farewell dinner 
given by the men there to Hsu Chuen, who is leaving for Sian 
and will perhaps not return. Headquarters had given every- 
one extra food for this day and has also given a New Year's 
dinner to the people of the whole village. 

To Hsu Chuen's farewell dinner the men in the Enemy 
Department had added a cup of bei gar, a drink about as in- 
nocent looking but as treacherous as vodka. We were about 
ten persons for this half pint of bet gar. But since any kind of 
alcohol is unusual in the army, this was quite enough and its 
effects soon became discernible in hilarious laughter. The 
Chinese always accompany wine with games of chance in 
which the loser must drink a sip of wine. First the men 
played the nationwide number game, throwing out their 
fingers at each other and shouting some number. This led to 
one or two men losing and drinking more than the rest. 

Another wine game we played was this: we took a chop- 
stick and rolled a thin strip of paper near the end, then rolled 
the two ends of the paper together so they became a long 
pointer sticking out from the chopstick. Each person about 
the table took turns in twirling this stick. He was blindfolded, 
the chopstick put between his flat palms. He rubbed it back 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

and forth, twirling it until someone shouted "ting"$topl 
The person at whom the little paper pointed, had to drink 
some bei gar. Often a man opened his eyes to find the pointed 
stick directed at himself. When you've had a little bei gar, 
this seems so funny that you nearly stand on your head with 
laughter! 

The dinner ended, the bei gar lost its effects, and we re- 
turned to normal. Six or eight men came in from the Political 
Department and piled up on the J(ang so that the room was 
as packed as a can of sardines. We made the atmosphere more 
pleasant still by smoking the cheap cigarettes we can buy in 
this region. Some of them seem to be of straw and do not stay 
lit after one puff. We used the little chopstick pointer to make 
men sing. For two or three hours we sang a thousand songs in 
four different languages. Since the hosts were men of the 
Enemy Department, they all speak Japanese. The head of the 
department is a man from Formosa, so that he could sing both 
Japanese and Chinese songs, and also songs of the aboriginal 
tribes formerly head hunters of that island. One man from 
the Political Department has returned from years of study in 
France. He sang French songs, both classical and revolution- 
ary. He had learned them well, and some of the arias from 
French operas seemed to me the most beautiful' I had ever 
heard. Suddenly, here in a dark little room in a mud village 
in Northwestern China was a voice singing in French, sing- 
ing songs of love and of suffering. 

Some of the men sang national revolutionary songs of 
China. Four of us sang the "Internationale" together in four 
different laguages Chinese, Japanese, French and English. 
And when it was finished I added the German. Then three of 
us sang the "Marseillaise" together, in French, English and 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

Chinese. I sang two old Negro spirituals and one modern 
Negro sharecropper song. We heard Japanese love songs, 
Japanese folksongs, and one Japanese gangster song! One 
singer produced an ancient Chinese aria from the Ming 
Dynasty, and another a Chinese wanderer's song. Together we 
sang Chinese Red Army songs of the past and national libera- 
tion songs of the present. We brought in a hsiao \wey to sing 
Szechwan peasant songs. 

While we were singing a theatrical group from one of the 
army companies was producing a play in another part of the 
village. We did not go. The place was literally jammed with 
townspeople. Peng Teh-hwei spoke at the theater. He gave a 
detailed account of the Eighth Route Army struggle through- 
out North Shansi, Western Hopei, Southern Chahar and 
Suiyiian, and down through Eastern Shansi. Soon the fight- 
ing will begin in the south of the province, he told them. 
Victory depends on every man and woman, as well as on the 
armed forces. The Eighth Route Army and the people must 
be linked by bonds of steel in the months to come, and in the 
years to come if the war continues. With union between the 
people and the army, and with the people organized and 
armed, China will be victorious. One of my guards was at the 
meeting and later he told me about it. 

While the singing was going on tonight, I had time to talk 
with one of the men of the Political Department. He, with 
twenty others, has just returned from Western Shansi, from 
the region along the Yellow River. There they were organiz- 
ing the people and forming Partisan units. First they organ- 
ized the peasants into Peasant Leagues, and then from these 
Leagues drew out the young men into armed Partisan units* 
But the work was very difficult. The region is backward eco- 

[260] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

nomically; the people have just about enough to eat. la na- 
tional consciousness they are also very backward. They did not 
want to leave their homes and fight in any force. They feared 
to join the Partisans lest these be sent to the front. They would 
agree with everything the organizers said about the danger 
of the Japanese, yet they would add, "I have an old mother 
and father/' or "I have three children," or "I am needed to 
till the land." They did not want to leave their villages and 
their families. 

Some young men joined the Partisans, though not many. 
All were willing to join the Peasant Leagues. However, they 
could see little reason for any such activities unless these led 
to some betterment in their living conditions. Their prob- 
lems are many, the taxes burdensome; above all, the rent they 
must pay landlords is not only half the crop, but even as high 
as two-thirds. The problem today is how to better the living 
conditions of the people and yet maintain the united front of 
all classes willing to fight the Japanese. Can taxes be reduced 
with the Japanese steadily occupying territory and eating up 
sources of national revenue? The Communists say that in- 
stead of burdensome taxes on the people, the rich must donate 
their wealth to the government for the defense of the country's 
liberty. They say that every man must give what he can the 
rich must give their wealth, the men with physical strength 
must give their strength. In this life-and-death struggle of a 
whole nation, the time will come when every man and woman 
must be called upon to give everything he has in possessions, 
in strength and in labor. 

These basic social issues in the struggle for national libera- 
tion must be settled. Until they are settled, the Japanese will 
continue to win victories. For today there is little inducement 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

for a poor man to fight for his country. His country today be- 
longs to the rich landlords and officials perhaps he thinks 
they can fight for it. 

I learned tonight that the regiment of new Volunteers who 
came here yesterday was brought by the Political Department 
from Fengyang to the northwest. They are all Partisans, most 
of them peasants, but many workers. Fengyang is a more ad- 
vanced place, so the organization of Partisans there is easy. 
These men are in villages near us, undergoing training. 

And so the New Year came and is gone. 

Headquarters of the Eighth Route Army 

January 2, 1938 

The Japanese have brought in ten thousand fresh troops 
along the Chentai railway. They already had reenforcements 
in Taiyiian. They plan a new campaign, and we expect it any 
day. There is a conference of all Eighth Route Army com- 
manders soon to decide many issues. The Japanese have taken 
the main coastal cities. Now the Chinese armies are going to 
be reorganized and, I think, given intensive political train- 
ing. Eighth Route Army mobile tactics are being introduced 
in the other armies also and now there is mobile warfare all 
along the coast. It is only beginning. Great changes are taking 
place in China. The national united front between the Kuo- 
mintang and the Communists is being welded more firmly. 
Many Eighth Route commanders have gone to other armies 
to train them in Partisan warfare. Many Communist political 
leaders have gone to the new national center, Hankow. Their 
daily newspaper, formerly published in Yenan, will appear in 
Hankow. 

Here in Shansi the Japanese intend to begin a big campaign 

[262] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

through the entire eastern part o the province. There are two 
main motor roads running south in the eastern half of the 
province, and they intend to move down these roads, and also 
send another column right down the center of the province, 
along the railway line. They have a number of aims in the 
movement they are trying to dear out all Chinese troops 
that can destroy the Pinghan railway; and they are trying a 
big outflanking movement against the Chinese forces. They 
think they can move down the eastern side of the province, 
right to the Yellow River, strike the entire Chinese defense in 
the flank, driving them across the Yellow River. Well that is 
merely a Japanese desire, not necessarily a realizable possi- 
bility. 

The Japanese have also taken "political" steps. One of these 
is the use of Chinese traitors. They have sent over one hundred 
traitors to the south of Taiyiian among them twenty-seven 
women. 

The coming weeks and months will be bloody ones for this 
province and we are told that headquarters will soon be mov- 
ing all the time. The Front Service Group is leaving for other 
provinces. The national struggle is broadening. 

On the train, leaving Shansi 
January 4, 1938 

Yesterday, Chu Teh, Peng Teh-hwei and Jen Peh-si said to 
me: 

"We would like you to go to Hankow. There is this and 
that and the other thing there that you alone can do." 

I replied to them in words they did not understand. In 
different words, but with the same meaning, I said: 
"Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following 

[263] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

after thee; for whither thou goest I will go; and where thou 
lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy 
God my God. 

"Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be bur- 
ied " 

To such ideas they replied: 

"We know you are not afraid but a new campaign is be- 
ginning. We will never rest, but move constantly. We are 
going into great danger and you may be killed. We do not 
wish to be responsible for your death. We would rather that 
you live and work." 

"Why speak to me of the danger of death, when you all live 
always facing death? Let me live in the same way. I do not 
want to die and I will not die if I can help it. But if die I 
must and that will come sooner or later let it be here. If I 
go to Hankow, the danger of death is as great as here. Han- 
kow means spiritual death for me. I have lived in China for 
many years. The cities are swamps cesspools. I was always 
so filled with misery in them that I was physically sick. But 
in your army I have recovered my health . . . and this is be- 
cause I believe this army to be the hope of China and of Asia, 
and because your army is pure of soul pardon that word 
and of purpose. These have been the only happy days of my 
whole life. Here alone I have found peace in mind and spirit 
... to leave you is to go to death, or the equivalent of death." 

They argued with me, gently, thoughtfully, kindly, and the 
kinder they grew the weaker I became, and I wept. "Go," 
they said, "and return later. It is but a short time." 

"If it is your wish, I must go." 

"Remain for a few days longer; we will call all the army in 
this region to bid you farewell. Our army loves you." 

[264] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

"Do not make me suffer more. It is enough that I must go. 
If I must look at the army before I go, I cannot endure it." 

I went out and walked across the fields of winter wheat. 
My mind threw up a veil between itself and reality so that I 
seemed to be passing through a dream. I kept thinking, "What 
a terrible dream this is. Soon I will awake." I thought of 
Hankow or of other cities with horror. 

As I wandered I passed a village where a thousand new 
Volunteers for the Eighth Route were training. In anguish I 
turned away and walked back, and lay down on the slope of 
a grave. Then I went on and on for hours. 

It was dusk when I returned to our village. I was so deep in 
my own suffering that I did not see my two guards, Kuo 
Shen-hwa and Wang Shih-fu, who had entered. "I wish to be 
alone," I told them, yet they stood. They would not go. So I 
went out into the night once more. They came after me. 1 
turned and saw Kuo Shen-hwa, and angrily ordered him to 
return. He continued to follow. Twice I ordered him and at 
last he fell behind. I thought I was alone, but after a time I 
heard steps behind me and turned to face my other guard, 
Wang Shih-fu. I ordered him also to return, but he would 
not. My fury would not move him. Sadly he stood and pleaded: 

"Come back! Do not go farther! I cannot go back. If I do, 
our commander-in-chief will call me before him." 

So I turned and wenf back with him, and once more my 
two guards and I stood in my room. I was angry. Wang 
Shih-fu, his head lowered, was tracing figures in the dust on 
a table. Kuo Shen-hwa spoke: 

"We have followed you for a long time and over many 
months. Wang Shih-fu has followed you for a year. We do 
not want to leave you now. Let us go where you go, it does 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

not matter where. Your kindness to us we shall never forget 
in our whole lives." 

My anger left me. This they had said to me "Entreat us 
not to leave thee." Some of my misery left me. 

My translator and Kuo Shen-hwa went to ask Chu Teh if 
the guards could go with me. Wang and I waited, Wang 
speaking not a word. His face was filled with unhappiness. 

My interpreter returned and said, "The commander-in-chief 
says that Kuo Shen-hwa can go. We have so little money now 
that it is difficult to pay for both." 

Wang Shih-fu stood dead still for a minute, then silently 
and swiftly disappeared in the dark hall and into his room. 
From my bed I could see him sink down on his bed and cover 
his face with his hands. For it is this boy who is like my own 
son. I have nursed him through a dangerous illness and he 
has nursed me through many. 

I arose and took Kuo and we stood by Wang Shih-fu. 

"Comrade Chu has said Kuo Shen-hwa could go merely be- 
cause Kuo happened to be there," I said. "If you two wish to 
change this decision, I will write a note." 

They would not answer. "What do you wish?" I asked Kuo. 

"I should like us both to go, and to follow you wherever 
you go." 

But Wang would not speak at all, though I repeatedly 
asked. 

"You decide," Kuo told me. 

My heart was like lead, for I love Wang as a mother loves 
a son. But I admire Kuo, and depend upon him as if he were 
a rod of steel. "What a terrible dream I am having!" I kept 
thinking to myself. "Soon I shall awake and find it all a 
dream." 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

My interpreter, a new student from the "outside," was 
astounded that any problem existed. "It's very easy/' he said 
"All you do is take a guard." 

At last I said, "Comrade Kuo, you speak the Kiangsi dialect 
and I can hardly understand you. I understand Wang Shih-fu 
because he speaks the Szechwan dialect. I think it best that he 
go with me." 

This was true but not the whole truth. The whole truth 
was that I had chosen the younger, the weaker, the more un 
developed. 

The interpreter announced, "Comrade Chu Teh says yox 
cannot take a gun." 

I watched to see what Wang Shih-fu would do. The body 
guards are very proud of their guns; they wear them by day 
put them under their heads at night, and they never appeal 
without them. They are not orderlies as in other armies. The) 
are specially trained as bodyguards, and if they wish to do sc 
they can refuse most personal service. 

But with the announcement, Wang Shih-fu arose and tool 
off his broad black leather belt filled with cartridges, and hi; 
Mauser. Unhesitatingly he handed them to Kuo Shen-hwa 

Suddenly I was so exhausted that I could not stand. ] 
stumbled to my bed and lay awake until three in the morning 
when we all arose to leave for Hungtung to catch the train 
Kuo came and said, "I will also go to Hungtung to bid yoi 
farewell." 

At four we left, four cavalrymen guarding us. My belovec 
pony Yunnan walked by my side, nudging me for bread 
There was no moon and the stars cast but a faint light on tin 
wintry earth. 

It seemed I was bidding farewell to the very earth. W< 

[267] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

passed through fields of winter wheat and through groves of 
barren birch trees. "Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!" my feet 
beat out as I walked. My mind was filled with anguish and 
my heart with physical pain. 

We are now on a Red Cross train leaving Shansi. At Linfen 
our train halted for a day and I went to the foreign hospital 
to see what medical supplies they need. The whole train is in 
charge of doctors from the Supreme Military Council and I 
learn that there are now eight just for the wounded an im- 
provement over the past. It is bitterly cold and none of the 
cars is heated. There are also no lights. Our car is for the 
lightly wounded. 

A woman worker from Ho Lung's 120th Division is travel- 
ing with us. She has come down from the Northwest where 
she was doing "local work/ 5 organizing the people for re- 
sistance to the Japanese. How many peasant Partisans now 
exist in the northwestern part of the province she does not 
know. "Ten thousand?" "Too few," she replies. The women 
are backward, but in some places her group was able to or- 
ganize women groups for sewing and washing or for knitting 
for the Partisans and the troops. This woman is now sick 
and is going to a hospital in Sian. Her uniform, once blue, is 
faded to the color of the earth. She carried one small bundle 
with a gray cotton blanket wrapped around it. 

This woman worker, my guard, and I talk with a lightly 
wounded soldier. We stand before one of the open car win- 
dows, and the dull glow of the setting sun touches the faces 
of my comrades. They are all young, intelligent and serious, 
and their talk is entirely of the position of China today and in 

[268] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

the future. The soldier is from the 45th Army. He is fror 
Honan Province and fought at Yenkenkwan, one of th 
strongest passes on the Great Wall. 

With us travels a "Chingkangshan Red Army man." T 
most people that means little. To the Eighth Route Army i 
means a Red Army veteran. Chingkang mountain on th 
border of Kiangsi and Hunan Provinces in the South was th 
first strong, firm base of the Chinese Red Army. It was th 
center of a "five district Soviet Region," Red Army songs o 
Chingkangshan are songs of homesickness; they describe it 
beauty and majesty and are filled with wistful longing. 

The man with us joined the peasant Partisans in that regio 
nine years ago, and after a time joined the Red Army. I aske< 
him how many battles he has been in during these nine year 
and he drew a deep breath and whistled through his teeth. 

"I can't answer that question," he said. "There were to* 
many. I can't remember." 
"How many wounds have you?" 
"Six," he said. "That question I can answer!" 
I asked him how many Chingkangshan men are left in th 
army. Not very many, he said. So many have been killed i 
battle. Those remaining are nearly all in some commandin 
position. He himself is director of a department in an intel 
ligence battalion. 

En route. Shansi 
January 5, 1938 

The train meanders along, taking its own sweet time. Laj 
night at about one it came to a halt and did not move unt 
three this afternoon a fourteen-hour wait. We halt at ever 
station and the engine unhooks and goes on a spree over th 

[269] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

countryside, it seems. We speculate as to what it is doing and 
why. 

This morning we stumbled out of the train and tried to get 
warm by running about. The only water we had was from the 
engine. I held my face towel under the hot water spout from 
the engine and was able to wash my face. We bought some 
water to drink and we bought hsiao ping, or flat biscuits for 
breakfast. 

The night was bitterly cold and the only heat came from 
the men in the car. They arose and stamped their feet all night 
to keep warm. Four of them stood in the aisle by my seat 
and talked political and military problems all night long. One 
was a petty officer in the Shansi army, two others appeared to 
be petty officers in other armies and one was a man in a mili- 
tary uniform but with a civilian coat and fur cap. The League 
of Nations came in for a bit of drubbing, American and 
British policies were debated, and Soviet Russia discussed 
thoroughly. They talked constantly of Japanese airplanes and 
the havoc they cause in the cities. The Eighth Route Army, 
they said, has the right method in fighting them Partisan 
warfare, mobile warfare . . . that is the warfare for China. 

Early this morning a man who seemed to be a conductor 
came in and shook my shoulder out of curiosity, I think. 
Who was I, where did I come from, and so on and so forth, 
he asked. 

"Eighth Route Army reporter does that meet your ap- 
proval?" I replied sleepily. 

"Hao! Hao!" he bellowed in astonishment, laughed, and 
went away. 

We are approaching Fenglingtohkow, on the Yellow River. 
Soon we shall cross to Tungkwan and be on our way to Han- 

[270] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

kow. The little Shansi sheet reported that thirty Japanese 
planes bombed Hankow yesterday, killing many workers. 

Tung^wan 
January 6, 1938 

Last night we arrived at Fenglingtohkow, across the Yellow 
River from this ancient strategic pass of Tungkwan. The town 
was packed with soldiers and with refugees, but we were 
fortunate enough to get two tiny rooms a cave dwelling. One 
of them was filled almost entirely with the Q&ng, which was 
just wide enough for three of our party of five. The other two 
slept in the little adjoining room, on a board bed. We are all 
of the Eighth Route Army two women and three men. After 
a night on the narrow board seats of a cold train, it was the 
purest of luxuries to stretch out and sleep. 

This morning, after a breakfast of chiao-tze in a little open 
mud restaurant, we took up our beds and went down to the 
Yellow River, hoping to be able to cross. The river is nar- 
rower and the mud flats are dry or frozen hard. But the river 
is still swift and covered with floating, twirling ice. On the 
banks were thousands of soldiers waiting to cross. Companies 
and battalions of troops, with all their equipment, had stacked 
guns, and were waiting their turn to go on board the river 
junks. Their pack animals were being driven or led through 
the frozen or freezing margins of the river to a mud flat 
against which many junks were anchored. Piles o supplies 
lay along the river banks also. Food venders were selling their 
food, the steam from their little portable "kitchens" rising in 
clouds in the freezing air. 

To go on board the junk, men had to walk along planks 
loosely thrown across improvised piles driven in the river. 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

The planks were narrow, and ended on the still more narrow 
edges of junks, along which heavily laden men and the 
wounded had to walk. Before a man reached his junk, he had 
clambered up and down four or five others balancing himself 
on the rickety planks. Along this route staggered and hobbled 
the wounded, supported by their comrades; and the heavily 
wounded were swung along on canvas stretchers to the Red 
Cross junks waiting for them. 

We waited over six hours before we could take our place on 
a junk. During this time I wandered amongst the crowd for 
a time, but soon became occupied entirely with helping lines 
of wounded that were carried on net or cloth stretchers and 
laid flat on the frozen earth to wait for hours until they could 
be taken on the hospital boats. Some of these wounded were 
clad in nothing but thin cotton summer uniforms. Some had 
no blankets at all and no overcoats. They did not even have 
the usual padded uniforms. They lay on the stretchers trem- 
bling and moaning. Two were not only suffering from their 
wounds but had contracted pneumonia so that the edges of 
the stretchers before their faces were a mass of mucus 
coughed up from infected lungs. One was semi-conscious. 

My guard and I spent our time buying hot gruel and hot 
water for the wounded. They had had no breakfast. The sol- 
dier-carriers hovered about us, but they themselves had not 
one copper to help their comrades. When we bought things, 
they helped carry the food and feed the wounded. The soldier- 
carriers went among the wounded, tucking in the coats of 
those who had coats, and caring for all as best they could. 

The wounded were taken on board the hospital junks just 
as our party was told to go on board another junk. I saw the 
wounded placed below on the floors of a junk, protected from 

[272] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

the cold winds. Down the rickety planks came the long lines 
of wounded, some on stretchers, some half-carried by their 
soldier-comrades. The men were as tender as mothers, and 
when the wounded could walk no farther, put their arms 
around them, drew them back, and let them rest on their 
shoulders and in their arms. It was a moving sight poor men 
helping poor men, strong men helping weak men, comrade 
helping comrade with tenderness and love. 

Another sight drew me back time and again. It was a big 
mule that had broken a front leg. The leg was broken off 
almost as if it had been a piece of wood or ice. Only a strip 
of skin and flesh remained connected with the rest of the body. 
Half of the creature was in the frozen Yellow River, half on 
the mud bank. Silently the dying animal lifted his head, then 
lowered it to the mud bank, lifted it and lowered it again in 
agony. Slowly he was dying. He lay directly beneath the 
board planks over which men walked. Yet no one put a 
bullet through his head. All could see the terrible sight, yet 
so terrible is the suffering of men that no one halted, no one 
spared a bullet. 

We went down to the Yellow River at seven in the morn- 
ing and we twirled across the swift stream at two in the after- 
noon. As we climbed up the dusty hill to the ancient, majestic 
wall that surrounds this town on the hills of the pass to 
Northwestern China, I took pictures of the swirling river 
below, of the walls above, and of the row of fresh graves along 
the ancient walls. There were signs everywhere that the 
Chinese were preparing to defend this pass to the end. 

The row of fresh graves below the wall remains imprinted 
on my mind. This is perhaps because most Chinese soldiers 
are buried in mass graves and no stones mark the site. But 

[273] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

here each man had his own plot of earth at last, and a wooden 
headboard on which are recorded his name, and date of his 
birth and death and the words "hero of the nation." At last 
the common soldier is a "hero of the nation." 

While we waited in the Tungkwan railway station a rail- 
way gendarme inspected my passport and my military pass, 
then he told me with a glance at the people about us that I 
could not possibly wait in that crowd. He led me to a special, 
well-furnished room in the station. Far from the vulgar 
crowd! I was glad of the room, which we could heat, but I 
was not glad that it was given for the reason it was. 

On the station platform was another local railway gen- 
darme, patrolling the entire length of the platform. When we 
went out to inquire about trains, he came up and stood before 
me. He was tall, in his middle thirties, he was clad in black, 
and up his back extended a rifle with a fixed bayonet. His 
face was intelligent, friendly. We stood smiling at each other. 

"You are from the Eighth Route Army?" he asked. 

We said we were. 

"They are fighting very hard, I hear." 

"Yes, very, very hard." 

"They are very brave, aren't they and very good to the 
people." 

We said they were. We all stood smiling at each other, lik- 
ing each other. Then, without further talk, we all walked to- 
gether to our waiting room, smiled at each other, and stood 
together, not wishing to part. 



[274] 



'HE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

Approaching HanJ^ow 
January 8, 1938 

We changed trains at Chengchow on the Lunghai railway 
ast night. As we approached that city we saw many slogans 
n the various station platforms. A large one read, "Myriads 
f men with one heart fighting to the very last." The region 
warmed with troops, though this is true of all North and 
sforthwest China. It seems that three-fourths of the entire 
*>pulation is in uniform. 

On the station platform at Chengchow were many refugees. 
They had their entire worldly possessions on wheelbarrows 
ncluding pitchforks and rice bowls. A few were men, but 
nost were women and children. In the semi-darkness they sat 
r stood, many of them absolutely still. I saw two men stand- 
Qg as still as statues. About them were their long white quilts. 
They reminded me of American Indians. At their feet, and 
bout the platform in all directions, were huddled women and 
ittle children, their quilts wrapped about them. But many 
tad no quilts at all. 

We talked with the refugees. They are all peasants from a 
own in Western Hopei the very region where the Eighth 
loute Army and the Partisans are fighting the Japanese col- 
imns moving against them. We held a memorable conversa- 
ion with a thin, straight old woman who had no coat and no 
luilt. Her wrinkled skin was like parchment and her voice 
vas hoarse and harsh. 

"There is fighting between the Partisans and the Japanese 
Q West Hopei?" 

"Right!" she answered in a voice as cold as a frozen river. 

"There is great suffering there?" 

[275] 



CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

"Right! Great suffering!" She was grim and all other words 
seemed superfluous and superficial. 

"How old are you?" 

"Seventy-two." 

"How did you come from West Hopei?" 

"Walked since late November." 

In her words, her voice, her motionless figure, was an in- 
describable grimness. At the age of seventy-two she was a 
wanderer on the frozen roads of the North. Suffering had 
stripped all things from her, even words. 

We halted before a woman enveloped in a quilt. From be- 
neath the quilt, at her bosom, the voice of a tiny child wailed. 
On the outskirts of the quilt sat huddled a little child no more 
than two years old. I bent down and put her under the quilt, 
then drew the covering about her. The little thing lifted her 
face and smiled at us, smiled as an adult would smile, grate- 
fully. The face was sweet and tender. Half-frozen, not a sound 
of complaint came from her. 

"We have had nothing but hot water today," one of the 
refugee peasant women said to us. "We have not eaten at all. 
Give us money." 

I had just six dollars, and it was doubtful if our military 
pass would be accepted on the express to Hankow. If we had 
to pay, six dollars was not enough. I would have to borrow 
from one of my companions who had a bit more than I. So I 
could give no money. Six dollars for a few hundred people! 
It was hardly a drop in a bucket. And so, feeling like a miser, 
I kept my six dollars and explained to the refugees why I had 
nothing to give. 

To enter a third class railway carriage in China these days 
required careful planning. 

[276] 



THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

"Let's plan our campaign/' one of our party began. "When 
the train comes in, we will hoist Wang Shih-fu on our shoul- 
ders and put him through a window. Then we can hand him 
the baggage. Then you help me in through the window, and 
you go through the doors at the end of the carriage." 

The train came in, the windows high above our heads. Both 
ends of every car were packed with fighting, struggling masses 
of human beings. To join that fighting mass was to risk in- 
jury. So we hoisted our men on our shoulders and thrust them 
through the windows and in the end I waited to enter through 
the doors at the end of the car. The inside of the car was like 
a battlefield, filled with three or four times as many people 
as there were seats. The aisle was clogged with them, with 
bundles, big and little baskets, boxes and suitcases. Everyone 
walked up and down the little mountains of bedding, and the 
owners did not care. The baggage racks that ran the length 
of the car were piled with baggage and with men stretched 
along on top of the baggage. 

Through this mass came a rich landlord's family, their way 
being cleared by soldiers. This family, consisting of five or six 
women and six or eight children, parked themselves right 
across from us. The landlord was like a Turkish Sultan with 
his harem. Soldiers brought in the family's luggage. And it 
consisted of everything imaginable. Other luggage on the 
racks was shoved away or thrown off in the aisle and dozens 
of pieces of household goods, bedding, clothing, baskets, bun- 
dles, suitcases, took their place. The aisle for a third of the 
car was piled high with the family luggage. And after having 
filled every available space, the landlord directed the soldiers 
to put other pieces in between the seats in which passengers 
sat. Without any "by your leave" they began piling bundles 

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right in on my feet. Where we were to put our feet was none 
of their business. 

I arose, lifted the bundles being piled on me, and hurled 
them over into the aisle and on the feet of the ladies of the 
seraglio. Consternation unheard of! But the family was like 
an avalanche that had merely met a slight impediment. So 
they diverted the flow to other passengers who fatalistically 
accepted it as they would accept a Yellow River flood. 

When the war is over and the poor peasants and soldiers 
have defeated the Japanese, he probably will go trundling 
back and expect to get his land back and expect the peas- 
ants to pay him a half or two-thirds of the rent. 

Sleep was impossible on the straight, narrow, board seats, 
and the air in the car was unbearable at times. So I watched 
and listened to other passengers. Behind the high seats in 
front of us some soldiers were talking. One was a petty offi- 
cer. Their problem was the withdrawal of the Chinese Gov- 
ernment from Hankow to Szechwan. How should this be 
done, and so on and so on. 

My guard remarked, "They are talking only of retreating. 
They are too pessimistic. Why talk of retreat and not of ad- 
vance?" 

Behind me I heard a group talking tenderly and I arose 
and looked back to see a father holding up a baby in his arms 
and talking to it. The child was just learning to talk, and the 
father was teaching him his first words : 

"Down with the Japanese!" the father said. 

The tiny voice of the child repeated, "Down with the Japa- 
nese!" 

"Down with the traitors!" 

"Down with the traitors!" piped the little voice. 

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THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

Down the aisle was another family scene, but a cruel one. 
A mother constantly bawled at her three- or four-year old 
child. The woman's voice resounded through the whole car. 
She had a white, cold, cruel face and once I saw her hit the 
little child three or four times right across the face. The at- 
tack was so fierce that a man across the aisle arose and reached 
over and rescued the child. The cruel mother followed, beat- 
ing the head of the child, and when the strange man's arm 
protected it, she beat the arm. The child was sobbing bitterly. 

This was the first cruel Chinese mother I have ever seen. 
Chinese mothers are generally very tender, and even spoil 
their children. So I wondered if this woman were not half 
insane, or if, instead, the child perhaps belonged to the former 
wife of her husband. 

In another little compartment back of us a Chinese woman 
began preaching Christianity to those about her. She was 
threatening mankind with the coming end of the world. This 
war was a sign of it. When this didn't impress anyone, she 
threatened them with death and with hell fire after death. 
That didn't seem to interest anyone either. So she told them 
that the foreigners do not want China to become Christian, 
that they do everything to prevent the Chinese people from 
knowing the truth of Christianity. At this I saw a man smile, 
then yawn, huddle up in his corner, and go to sleep. And so 
the woman's wisdom fell upon the desert air, and she soon 
ceased talking. 

The Chinese people are tough customers when it comes to 
religion. The only way most of them can be caught is to get 
them during a flood or famine and then give rice to those 
who accept "the one and only true faith." This woman had 
tried to catch them by the war, but she didn't offer anyone 

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CHINA FIGHTS BACK 

any rice. And, after all, people with money enough to travel 
third class are not yet at the end of their rope. 

We arrived at Hankow at midnight tonight, and ricksha 
coolies pulled us through the streets for two hours and a half, 
to earn more money. They knew we were strangers and did 
not know the way. After an interminable time we reached 
the local office of the Eighth Route Army. It is in the Japa- 
nese Concession, which has been taken over by the Chinese. 
We went to an empty room, spread our sleeping bags and 
quilts on the floor, and slept. 



January 9, 1938 

This morning I called at the American Embassy and re- 
ported to them about the trip of their military attache, Cap- 
tain Carlson, to the North Shansi front. The Ambassador, Mr. 
Johnson, in a fringed leather jacket, asked to be pardoned for 
his informal costume. And I asked to be pardoned for ap- 
pearing before him in uniform, in ragged leggings and a coat 
which formerly seemed very smart but now looks shabby and 
dirty. With the Ambassador was the admiral of the American 
gunboats near Hankow on the Yangtze River. Mr. Peck, a 
consular official, and a military attache, also came in to join 
our conversation. 

Mr. Johnson asked about the Eighth Route Army, its Par- 
tisan warfare and mobile tactics. We talked of the Japanese 
captives held by the Eighth Route Army. I told of the work 
being done by the Enemy Department, of the kind treatment 
of Japanese captives, and of the mentality of the Japanese 
soldiers. I said that some of the captives were very good men, 

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THE NEW YEAR BEGINS 

men who did not want this war, and I told of the diaries taken 
from the pockets of the Japanese dead or the captives. Mr. 
Johnson was very interested. 

Mr. Johnson then spoke of the heroism of the Chinese 
soldiers who fought around Shanghai. 

The morning passed in talk of the Eighth Route Army. We 
had little time to talk of the general situation in China. But I 
asked what the American Government has done about the 
sinking of the Panay, and he told me the incident was settled. 
The Japanese have met the American demands. 

From the Embassy I toured the town trying to find the 
International Red Cross to ask for medicine for the Eighth 
Route Army and the Partisans. Unable to find it, I halted at 
the China Inland Missiori, presented a letter of introduction 
from the Shansi missionaries who had become my friends. 
Mr. Lewis, one of the men at the mission, went with me to 
the International Red Cross; but it is closed on Sunday and 
we returned to the mission for tea. There I met twenty to 
thirty of the missionaries and talked to them of the Eighth 
Route Army and of its medical needs. Many of them are 
active in Red Cross work and all are friends of China, sym- 
pathizing deeply with the struggle of the Chinese armies and 
people. One old lady, a Miss Webb, told me she was a refugee 
from Wuhu. She hastened to assure me that she had not 
evacuated out of fear of Japanese planes. The whole region 
become a batdefield, and the Chinese fled. She did not want 
anyone to think she had fled from fear. "I wanted to stay 
with the Chinese people," she said. "Now is the time to stand 
by them if we are their real friends. But there was no reason 

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CHINA FIGHT: 

for me to remain at Wuhu after the Chinese people thei 
had fled." 

Yes, certainly, now is the time to stand by the Chine 
pie! Perhaps there is much work for me to do here in H 



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